Labor negotiations

Meetings between public employee union representatives and government entities while negotiating a labor agreement or memorandum of understanding are required to be conducted in public.

In fact, the law requires both sides to jointly decide and announce the location of those negotiations.

However, it also allows “planning or strategy sessions” of a governmental entity committee to be closed to the public.

The law was amended in 2009 to allow the full governing body to meet in closed session to develop strategies, but that amendment did not change the requirement that all agreements be voted on in an open and announced at a public meeting.

(a)  Notwithstanding any other Tennessee law to the contrary, labor negotiations between representatives of public employee unions or associations and representatives of a state or local governmental entity shall be open to the public, whether or not the negotiations by the state or local governmental entity are under the direction of the legislative, executive or judicial branch of government.

(b)  Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to require that planning or strategy sessions of either the union committee or the governmental entity committee, meeting separately or with the entity it represents, be open to the public.

(c)  Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to grant recognition rights of any sort.

(d)  Both sides shall decide jointly and announce in advance of any such labor negotiations where such meetings shall be held.

T.C.A. § 8-44-201