Las Vegas, NVAn interesting battle is heating up on the Nevada Labor Law front that has flown under the radar, but is nonetheless compelling when one looks at the relationship between tax dollars, public servants and unions. To that end, a Nevada Employment lawsuit has been filed in federal court by three police unions taking issue with new legislation that directly affects compensation for union activity.
According to an editorial published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal (10/15/15), public servants acting as union members taking union leave to work on union business on behalf of their members continued to be paid with tax dollars. This was viewed by many as a Catch-22 of sorts, in that the union often represented their members in disputes – or contract negotiations – with their employer, the municipality. Under previous process and protocol, union members performing work on behalf of their unions and membership were doing so having taken time away from their jobs for union leave, but still being paid by the municipality.
In this case – police unions. The municipality in Nevada funds the police force. The police unions represent their members, with various union members taking union leave to work on union business that may pit the union against the municipality – members that are still being paid by the municipality.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal, in its editorial, likened this to a “gravy train” associated with taxpayers footing the bill for unionized public employees working against taxpayer interests.
That has now changed in the state of Nevada, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The 2015 Legislature slammed the brakes on this gravy train when it passed Senate Bill 241,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes, “and public employee unions are none too happy.”
Unhappy enough, to file Nevada lawsuits. Three unions representing members of the police in the state – the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association Civilian Employees, and the Las Vegas Police Managers and Supervisors Association – have filed a Nevada lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in federal court claiming SB241 is unconstitutional.
Under the new bill, unions and employee groups would be required to reimburse governments for union leave costs, or negotiate concessions that represent the value of wages and salaries paid to union members, and to offset that cost.
The unions are fighting back, calling the bill “viewpoint discrimination” and holding that the new rules are in violation of the First and 14th Amendments.
“If plaintiff associations reimburse Metro for such leave they have less money to spend on their other advocacy and associational activities, and thus have to curtail such activities,” the complaint alleges.
The Nevada employment lawsuit is Las Vegas Police Protective Association Metro Inc. et al v. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Case No. 2:2015cv01928, filed October 7, 2015 in Nevada District Court.