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New Merit Pay System Faces Challenge From Teachers Union

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — While some applaud the new merit pay system for the state’s teachers, the occupation’s union is fighting it head on.

A judge is holding a hearing to decide on a union challenge to the new law, which also ends tenure for new hires.

Lawyers for the Florida Education Association and the state Department of Education are making their arguments Wednesday to Circuit Judge John Cooper in Tallahassee.

Cooper’s decision is expected to be appealed regardless of what he decides.

The union contends the law is unconstitutional because it substantially changes the way teachers are paid and evaluated without going through collective bargaining.

The Florida Constitution guarantees public employees the right to collective bargaining.

The state denies that the law violates that right, arguing that teachers are still free to negotiate with employers over wages, hours and working conditions.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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