Clark County Firefighters Challenge Exclusion of Battalion Chiefs

Clark County, Nevada, Firefighters IAFF Local 1908, have filed suit in Federal court to block the county’s attempt to exclude battalion chiefs from continued membership.

The challenge is unusual in that it alleges that the county’s actions violate the 1st and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution.

The suit alleges that last year, the county lobbied the state legislature to change Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 288.140 and NRS 288.075 to make battalion chiefs ineligible for union protection. The chiefs are currently members of Local 1908, although in a different bargaining unit from the rank and file members.

The legislative changes made employees who were “consulted on decisions relating to collective bargaining” ineligible for inclusion in a collective bargaining unit. The suit claims:

“Historically, fire battalion chiefs assign work to other employees and direct them in that work. They have never previously been consulted by County management about its labor negotiations with Local 1908.”

The passage of the new legislation, in conjunction with recent efforts by the county to begin “consulting” with the battalion chiefs represents a concerted effort by the county “to exclude fire battalion chiefs from Local 1908 membership” in violation of the 1st and 14th Amendment.

The suit, filed Monday, seeks to block the county from taking an adverse action against any battalion chief “who refuses or declines to consult County management on labor negotiations issues”. The suit also seeks to have NRS 288.140(4)(a) declared unconstitutional.

Here is a copy of the suit. Clark County FFs v Clark County

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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