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Public Sector Unionization Process Gets a Digital Upgrade

Public Sector Unionization Process Gets a Digital Upgrade

Wed, 07/25/2018

Jefferson City, MO -- A new online tool is saving tax dollars and making it easier for voters in elections that decide whether to change public sector collective bargaining representatives.

Public entities, such as fire and school districts, can now file electronic ballots with the Missouri Department of labor and Industrial Relations (Department) State Board of Mediation (Board) in elections to determine union representation. 

An online, electronic ballot was recently used successfully in an election for the St. Louis County Police Association Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 111. The ballot was sent via email and took mere seconds to complete. Members were given a five-day window to complete their ballot, significantly more time to vote compared to past elections. 

The Board says the electronic elections will not only reduce the time to conduct an election, but will also have an economic benefit both to the Department and to the taxpayers.

“The change to electronic ballots will help us save money by removing the cost for paper, printing, postage, and/or travel for staff and board members.” says Board of Mediation Chairman Todd Smith. “Depending on the size of the bargaining unit, there is potential to save hundreds of dollars per election.” 

This new method has been well received since its debut, as the potential group representatives are recognizing the benefits to its members. 

“The new process is win-win for voters and the Department,” Smith says. “In the case of the St. Louis County Police Department, you have multiple locations and at least three different shifts. The convenience of an electronic ballot on your desktop over an in-person election that requires time and travel, possibly on their day off, was obvious. This is a step in the right direction to make the process easier and more effective for public sector workers across the state.” 

This change is one of several improvements the Department has made to work better together with employers and workers across the state. To learn more about the Department’s strategic initiatives, click here. 


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Adam Pulley