Friday, January 09, 2015

Joplin NEA makes its move, files request for collective bargaining election

Joplin NEA, with a growing membership tired of mistreatment at the hands of the C. J. Huff Administration, has filed a request for a secret ballot election to have the organization declared as the collective bargaining unit for teachers, librarians, and counselors.

The membership of the local NEA chapter has been growing over the past few years, fueled by the autocratic rule of Huff and his former Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer.

The following notice was posted on the district's website earlier this afternoon.

Dr. C. J. Huff, Superintendent for Joplin Schools, has received a request for a secret ballot election from the Joplin National Education Association ("JNEA") as it seeks to be recognized as teacher representative under the Joplin School District's Board of Education's Policy HH.  This request was received on January 6, 2015. 

JNEA proposes to act as the representative for the following group of District employees for collective bargaining purposes: 

All full-time teachers, counselors and librarians who are employed by the School District of Joplin R-8 ("District") and who are included on the District Teacher Salary Schedule, and who are required by the District to be certified; but excluding all District Administrators, Managers, Supervisors and all other District employees. 

BE ADVISED that any individual fitting the above description who is interested in being represented by a union other than JNEA must file on or before Friday, February 20, 2015, such a request with the Superintendent.  A request for representation by a different union must contain the following:
  1. A description of the bargaining unit requesting representation.  The description will include the general classification of employees sought to be included and excluded and the appropriate number of teachers in the proposed bargaining unit. 
  2. The name of the union seeking recognition as the representative and the name, address, email address and telephone number(s) of the union's contact person. 
  3. A petition requesting an election by secret ballot by 10 percent of the district teachers in the proposed bargaining unit.  No signature can be older than 6 months from the date the petition is submitted to the superintendent or designee,  The petition will be submitted in a sealed envelope separate from the other required information and labeled "Petition." 
In the event timely and complete request are received for representation from multiple unions for the same bargaining unit, the District will schedule a secret ballot election.


Anonymous said...

Why is it a secret ballot election? What exactly does that mean? Who are the voters (district employees, Joplin residents, school board)? And I thought that collective bargaining was determined by the state.

Anonymous said...

Some of us remember when the NEA led a teachers' strike in the late 1960s. The teacher walkout caused schools to be closed and children (me included) to be sent home or in some cases all day study halls were mandated. The teachers and the public need to recall how the Joplin community (as well as the students) were angry at the teachers for walking out. I remember seeing my coach, Mike Hutchison, on the picket line and how I lost a great deal of respect for him for his lack of concern for the students.
I don't doubt the teachers have legitimate grievances; the NEA/union route will not solve anything but only escalate tensions and dysfunction in the schools.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like 5:40 is a current board member or part of the huff and puff clan!

Anonymous said...

>>>Why is it a secret ballot election?

Ohhh...I don't know...why would the union organizers want to have a secret ballot?

Sounds kind of bad for the management doesn't it? Can't just fire all the union supporters even if they want to.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe for one second that teachers are planning to strike. But even if they wanted to, they couldn't.
MISSOURI: Teachers at public schools have the right to bargain collectively. Statute does not grant a right to strike. - See more at:

Anonymous said...

If Joplin teachers have not walked off the job since the 1960s, they are to be commended, in light of what they endure. Missouri is 48th in the country for pay for teachers--only two states are worse, in other words--and Joplin teachers are paid way below the average for districts in this state. It is pathetic and a stark reminder of why collective bargaining is so vital to maintaining a learning community. Lack of pay, lack of respect, and lack of representation is why Joplin teachers have left en masse the last few years. There are far better districts surrounding Joplin.

Do not lef Huff or his team delude you with their statistics about the percentage of teachers leaving Joplin as opposed to the state or nation. That average also includes AmericaCorp teachers, who are only hired for two years, and it reflects the massive numbers of teacher flight in the inner-city schools. Some of that is attributed to AmericaCorp teachers, and some to difficult working conditions. The best comparison is the number of teachers leaving before Huff, after Huff, and after the tornado. Don't compare apples to oranges.

Joplin abuses its staff, from the top to the bottom, with the exception of those at the Administration Building and their pets who were willing to hurt others in order to propel themselves forward. Joplin Schools cannot succeed again until this mess is cleaned out and sent down the road. Teachers should demand this more than high raises, as we all know there is no money to be given out until the massive numbers of nonessential personnel are trimmed to a reasonable size. Collective bargaining can assist in driving that process, but it will take a new, stronger Board to ensure implementation. FEMA money could be as many as four years away. There are no reserves. The district is highly in debt. There will be job cuts. It's whose job, and what happens to the resources freed from those cuts, that will have to be the source of negotiation. You can rest assured that CJ, bless his sobbing little heart, will want to cut from the bottom of the stack and not the top, as the only support he has is his hired guns at the top. This must not be allowed to happen. It's time to make the voices of staff heard. All the staff. Not just the chosen few.

Anonymous said...

No one likes a teacher strike. No one, including the teachers. Teachers are incredibly dedicated to the children in their care, and they have few resources to lean upon if they are not working. However, teachers are also humans, as hard as that is for you to believe, and they have mortgages, children, and needs of their own. Joplin teachers have not had raises of any consequence since Huff came on board. All resources available have been squandered away or used to line their own pockets, and to create new accounts for themselves for future use, so to speak. Where was their accountant in this time? Lining his pockets also. Where was the Board? Either doing the same or too stupid to add and subtract. Striking has not even been mentioned. Fair play is the objective here. Stop trying to sway people with fear tactics before bargaining has even begun. Perhaps you'd be happier in Wisconsin where that kind of mentality rules.

Anonymous said...

Honestly a strike would not be a bad thing if it didn't hit the teachers in the pocketbook! It would accomplish more than fair play. It would show the world that Huff IS NOT the "hero" he portrays himself as and it would clean house simultaneously. With the auditors already breathing down the R8 necks, this is not going to bode well for Huff. Good for the JNEA for taking a stand!

Anonymous said...

Only Joplin teachers, counselors and librarians will decide this issue. Huff will try to persuade, cajole and otherwise manipulate the process. People will cast NEA as the dreaded liberal horde, blah, blah. But in the end - after all the noise and misinformation have settled - only the teachers will decide. It's an unusual position for teachers in Joplin. Seems odd to allow teachers a choice, doesn't it? Folks are having a hard time wrapping their minds around the concept. Thanks to JNEA for having the courage to step up.

Anonymous said...

Thanks JNEA!