Since 2010, Local 205 has been in a pitched battle with Metro Nashville Public Schools director Jesse Register ever since Register ordered the layoff of nearly 700 school custodians. Local 205 filed two lawsuits to challenge Register’s power grab and has won both of them. Here’s an update.
SEIU 205 vs. MNPS
This case challenged Dr. Register’s right to do away with the Labor Negotiations Policy (“LNP”) which was approved by the School Board in 2000. The LNP is the core document which protects workers rights, their employee handbook, and their grievance procedure among other things. SEIU maintained, and the court agreed, that Register’s decision to unilaterally do away with the LNP without a vote by the School Board, was unlawful. The court said that the LNP from 2000 is still in effect and can only be repealed by a vote by the School Board. The district has appealed this decision and the union is awaiting a court date.
AINA-LABINJO vs. MNPS
In this case, SEIU represented Tanya Aina-Labinjo, a school cashier who was terminated from MNPS. The union maintains that under state law and the Metro charter, that Ms. Labinjo and all support staff in the schools have the right to appeal, with cause, a termination to the School Board. MNPS maintains that the superintendent (Register) has the final say, but the court agreed with SEIU that the Metro charter “require that that the Board of Education… act in the capacity of a civil service commission concerning non-teaching employees who are dismissed.” The school district appealed the ruling and lost their appeal.
We will continue to keep members advised on updates in MNPS.