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September 4, 2015

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NLV police supervisors union sues over layoffs

Police layoffs

KSNV coverage of North Las Vegas Police Department layoffs, June 15, 2011.

The North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association filed a civil lawsuit against the city on Wednesday, alleging a breach of a bargaining agreement that union leaders argue protects its members’ pay and positions.

In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in the Clark County District Court, the union claimed the North Las Vegas City Council violated a memorandum of understanding between the city and the Police Officers Association Union.

The tentative agreement protected police officer union positions until June 2012 in exchange for about $8 million in concessions, such as increased employee retirement contributions and deferred holiday payouts, cost of living increases, sick leave sell-backs and clothing allowances.

In the lawsuit, the police supervisors union alleges that while it split from the police officers union in November 2010, city officials promised to apply the terms of the bargaining agreement to the newly formed and city-recognized union.

The lawsuit points to a September 2010 letter from city officials in which the city said it intended “to apply the terms of the existing collective bargaining agreement to any newly established employee organization until at least such time as the City and the new bargaining agent can negotiate a new agreement.”

The city, however, approved its fiscal 2012 budget on May 17 that outlined 83 police department layoffs, including five police supervisor union positions, to plug a $30 million budget shortfall. The city confirmed Wednesday that pink slips would be sent out starting next week.

“It’s a little beyond frustration,” said union President Leonard Cardinale. “Our supervisors have children, some have children on the way, and they are concerned about their jobs, their bills and supporting their families.”

The police supervisors union sat down with the city last week to negotiate further concessions to save positions slated for elimination, but they were not able to reach an agreement, Cardinale said. The union is still open to negotiations, he said.

“It’s probably a mistake to lay off more police, more corrections officers, more police supervisors,” he said. “The city does have a rise in crime in certain areas, and it’s going to get a whole lot worse. The safety of the public is No. 1 in our minds and I think the layoffs would only inhibit our ability to keep the public safe.”

In the lawsuit, the union requested damages in excess of $10,000, restoration of benefits and compensation under the tentative agreement and attorney’s fees.

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