Updated: Sep 14, 2021
Hello everyone, I have inquired about the legalities behind filing an injunction on behalf of all members. I was informed that due to the fact that AFSCME is the designated bargaining representative, they are the only ones who can file such an injunction. this type of injunction would be due to the NDOC refusing to bargain a mandatory bargaining subject. NRS 288.150 provides the bargaining subjects that are mandatory. Even as you read through the codified section that pertains to state workers, it is referenced that all of the items listed in 288.150 are subject to mandatory bargaining for state workers, with one exception. Officer Safety was not the item that was omitted from state workers. That being said the only recourse you as an officer and a part of the bargaining unit have is to flood AFSCME with emails, phone calls, and grievances requesting they represent you against the NDOC to fight this mandate and file an injunction. I wish I had better news, but this was the legal opinion given to me.
The other aspect of this situation is that if you make the personal choice not to take the shot, you may face progressive discipline. In that case, your Legal Defense Plan Benefit will cover the cost of arbitration.(in arbitration you must pay half and the state must pay half to a neutral arbitrator) So every time the state disciplines you, they will have to fork out approximately $3500, per case. They clearly have not thought this through. If half of the officers in our department refuse, NDOC will have to pay approximately $3500 X 800 officers= $2.8 million. That’s if everyone files for arbitration. That does not mean that everyone will go to arbitration, because we do not have half of the department as members of our lodge. Those who were not covered prior to being issued a mandate will have a tough time being covered. I was told that there is a good legal argument for changing conditions of employment outside of the contract and failing to bargain. There is no precedent for cases like this, so as this situation remains fluid, we can only wait and see how this will play out. There is no guarantee of victory in these cases.
I want to be very clear, each of you have to make a decision with your families. You have to make the best choice for yourself. If you choose to fight this, you will have the legal defense plan to give you the best shot at overturning any discipline. I have been filing comments at the Board of Health, I posted that everyone who could, should log in to give their comments at the meeting on Friday, which I also did myself, I field calls, texts, messages every single day. We had a Lodge meeting and 7 or 8 people attended. Now I am receiving messages asking what FOP is going to do? If you have a religious or medical exemption there is a form you can fill out. I will attempt to have this form emailed to all of you tonight. If you are hearing the news but haven’t participated or tried to join us in fighting this through the limited channels that we have available, I’m not sure what you expect that we can do for you. You may not like my sentiments, but those who know me, know that even as a new retiree I give everything that I can to fight for you all. Anytime you would like to join me I will welcome you with open arms. Be safe and take care of each other.
PS: in the above mentioned cost of arbitration, if you are covered by legal defense, you will not come out of pocket for that expense. the Defense plan will pay it.