published Friday, April 13th, 2012

Hamilton County judge rules teacher contract negotiations keep current rules

A local judge has ruled that the current negotiation conditions of a county teachers union contract must stay in place.

Hamilton County Chancellor Frank Brown III issued his ruling Thursday following a hearing Monday between the Hamilton County Education Association and Hamilton County Board of Education.

Attorneys for the board argued that recent changes by the Tennessee Legislature prevented "collective bargaining" and replaced it with a new method known as "collective conferencing."

The law change, board attorneys told Brown in Monday's hearing, didn't allow them to conduct annual renegotiations on the current three-year teachers contract set to expire in 2014.

But the association's attorney argued that the Legislature intended existing contracts to remain until their expiration dates, despite the change in law and cited a case decided in March in Dickson County involving the same issues.

The Dickson judge ruled that the contract there would continue to be negotiated using collective bargaining until it expired.

Brown wrote that he would release his full opinion on the local case next week.

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