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Chicago Commits Bodycam-Related Unfair Labor Practices

This article appears in the July 2021 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. The City of Chicago and Lodge #7 of the Fraternal Order of Police were parties to a collective bargaining agreement from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2017. By its terms, the CBA continued in force and effect past its expiration date. In January 2015, the City instituted the first phase of its…

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When Can Unions Intervene In Federal Litigation That Could Impact Bargaining Rights

This article appears in the June 2021 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. Six civil rights actions were filed between October 2020 and March 2021 against the NYPD, the City of New York, and multiple individual NYPD officers. The lawsuits alleged that defendants engaged in – and continue to engage in – un­constitutional conduct in response to demonstrations throughout New York City. The lawsuits sought money…

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Chief’s Questions And Statements During Roll Call Amount To Illegal “Direct Dealing”

This article appears in the May 2021 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. Ibrahim Michael Baycora is Paterson, New Jersey Police Department’s Chief of Police. The City has bargaining agreements with the Paterson PBA Local 1 (PBA) and Paterson PBA Local 1 Superior Officers Association (SOA). Baycora attended the October 27, 2020 joint negotiations session with the PBA and SOA as a member of the City’s…

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Challenges To The ‘Public Policy’ Doctrine In Illinois

This article appears in the April 2021 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. Parties to contracts such as labor agreements can choose to substitute arbitration for a court resolution of contractual disputes. With two notable exceptions, final and binding arbitration of grievances is just that: final and binding. As the Supreme Court held in United Steelworkers of America v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp., 363 U.S….

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‘Tyrant’ Sheriff Subject To Recall

This article appears in the March 2021 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. By many accounts, the tenure of Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher in Washington had been a tumultuous one. As described by the Washington Supreme Court, “During his short reign as sheriff, Hatcher created a culture of control that led to a hostile work environment for many, if not all, of his employees.” In…

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Whether Bargaining Should Be In Public Is Not Mandatory For Bargaining

This article appears in the February 2021 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. Some public employers are adopting resolutions requiring collective bargaining to be conducted in public. Unions often push back on these resolutions, believing private collective bargaining to be more effective in the give-and-take process for resolving differences. Washington’s Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) recently had to address what happens when the parties are unable…

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Bargaining Obligation Prevails Over Wage Recoupment Statute

This article appears in the January 2021 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. On November 1, 2016, an audit at a county in Washington uncovered an accounting software error had caused Benton County Sheriff’s Office employees, including 85 corrections officers, to be overpaid from June 2016 through September 2016. Benton County Auditor Brenda Chilton sent Sheriff Steven Keane a memo that notified him of the error….

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Prosecutor Allowed To Disclose Brady Information To Chief

This article appears in the December 2020 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. Two unnamed officers of the Fall River Police Department in Massachusetts were present when fellow officer Michael Pessoa used force while arresting an individual on February 12, 2019. Pessoa submitted an arrest report; the officers did not. A few hours after the incident, the officers were ordered by their superiors to each complete…

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Reinstatement Of Corporal Who Used Unnecessary Force Does Not Violate Public Policy

This article appears in the November 2020 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. Corporal Brendon Johnson works as a corrections corporal in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. On May 8, 2016, Johnson responded to a call involving a female inmate with a known history of noncompliance. The inmate had flooded her cell by intentionally clogging her toilet and causing it to overflow. Johnson ordered the inmate to come…

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Officer’s Brady Lawsuit Against Prosecutor Survives

This article appears in the October 2020 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. On February 8, 2017, Assistant Burleigh County (North Dakota) State’s Attorney Julie Lawyer received an anonymous letter concerning a Bismarck police officer’s destruction of evidence. The letter prompted Lawyer to review the files of all approximately 100 active, sworn Bismarck police personnel. As part of her investigation, Lawyer reviewed the file of Sergeant…

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Public Records Law Prevails Over Purging Clause In Contract

This article appears in the September 2020 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. Since January 1981, the City of Chicago and the Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge No. 7, have been parties to a collective bargaining agreement. Section 8.4 of the CBA calls for the purging from employee disciplinary files of materials “five (5) years after the date of the incident or the date upon…

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Brady Does Not Allow Employer To Fire Officer Without Providing Reasons

This article appears in the August 2020 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. The Borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Local 776 of the Teamsters Union are parties to a labor contract covering police officers. In March 2017, the Borough’s Police Department referred a criminal investigation involving an officer (referred to only as “Grievant”) to the district attorney’s office. The District Attorney began an investigation, and eventually…

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Employer Required To Bargain When State Passes Paid Family And Medical Leave Law

This article appears in the July 2020 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. In 2017, the Washington Legislature enacted the Paid Family Medical Leave Act. The Act provides compensation for qualifying medical or family events, such as the birth of a child. The Act funded the program in part through premiums of 4/10 of one percent of an employee’s salary and provided that an employer may…

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First Lawsuit Against Plain View Project Is Dismissed

This article appears in the April 2020 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. In the summer of 2016, a team of attorneys in Philadelphia learned that numerous local police officers had posted content on Facebook that appeared to endorse violence, racism and bigotry. In some of these posts, officers commented that apprehended suspects – often black men – “should be dead” or “should have more lumps…

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Officer’s Firing For Facebook Posts Upheld

This article appears in the March 2020 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. Anthony Venable, who had been an officer with the Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County Police Department (MNPD) since 2007, engaged in a Facebook conversation regarding the shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota. At the time, Venable was off-duty and the shooting had happened just the day before. During the course of the conversation,…

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‘No-Contact’ Order Ruled Illegal

This article appears in the February 2020 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. The 22 police officers in the Oakdale Police Department in California are represented by the Oakdale Police Officer’s Association. The Department’s officers wear body cameras. On March 26, 2018, a lieutenant approached Police Chief Scott Heller to discuss concerns over how certain video files were indexed. After logging into the Department’s system to…

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Tattoo Policy Ruled Non-Negotiable

This article appears in the January 2020 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News. From 1988 to the summer of 2016, the City of Philadelphia did not have a policy regulating or restricting tattoos for police officers applying for a position with or during their tenure as officers for the City. During the summer of 2016, the Democratic National Convention was held at the Philadelphia Convention Center….

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Corrections Officers Win $113 Million In Wage-And-Hour Lawsuit

This article appears in the December 2019 issue of our monthly newsletter Public Safety Labor News. The collective bargaining agreement between the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Missouri Corrections Officers Association provides that the DOC “will comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).” The DOC’s policy manual similarly states it is intended “to ensure departmental compliance with FLSA rules.” In 2012, a group of corrections officers…

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‘Witness’ Entitled To Weingarten Representative

This article appears in the November 2019 issue of our monthly newsletter Public Safety Labor News. Maylee Bardelas is a police officer with the City of Doral, Florida. Bardelas was accused by Sergeant Eric Fernandez of “intentionally driving away from an active shooter scene” and was charged by the Department with “cowardice.” Eventually, the investigation determined that “there was insufficient evidence to substantiate a finding that Bardelas was the…

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Administrative Leave Can Trigger Whistleblower Rights

This article appears in the October 2019 issue of our monthly newsletter Public Safety Labor News. Like many states, Minnesota has a whistleblower statute. In general, the statute prohibits retaliation against an employee who alleges that the employer has violated the law. Sergeant Steven Moore is a 29-year veteran of New Brighton’s police department. In March 2015, the City required all police employees to attend training. Employees attended the…

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