February 4, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Nashville, Tenn – The Service Employees International Union plans to appeal a December state-court ruling that said Nashville schools could unilaterally end an agreement with the union.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals, citing changes to state laws in 2011, held that the school district could not legally have a formal agreement with a union, so former schools director Jesse Register had the authority to void a memorandum of understanding with the SEIU. The union had represented “non-licensed” school employees, almost all workers other than teachers and bus drivers, and the agreement had been in effect since 2000. “This is a very broadly worded opinion that essentially takes all employment and gives it to the director of schools and takes away from a board of education,” SEIU attorney Michael Wall said Jan. 25. “It would affect boards… across the state.” Last October, state courts rejected another SEIU lawsuit, ruling that the Nashville school system could fire non-teaching employees without giving them a chance to appeal that decision. Read more