Firefighters union sues Clark County over battalion chiefs

Firefighters Local 1908 filed a lawsuit against Clark County in federal court Monday to preserve the right of several fire battalion chiefs to remain in the union.

The union alleges that the county is trying to redefine the role of battalion chiefs to make them qualify as supervisors under a new state law that would bar them from being part of Local 1908.

"Within the past several months," the lawsuit said, "the county has sought to involve battalion chiefs in consultations about the county's position in negotiations with Local 1908 concerning Local 1908's rank-and-file bargaining unit."

The lawsuit alleged the county is placing the battalion chiefs in an "untenable situation."

"If fire battalion chiefs cooperate with the county's efforts, they risk losing their rights to union membership, their bargaining rights and their jobs due to union sympathy," the lawsuit said. "If they refuse to cooperate, they risk being disciplined for insubordination or suffering other adverse career consequences."

The union wants a court order prohibiting the county from "discharging or other taking any adverse action" against any battalion chief who refuses to consult with the county about labor negotiations.

The union also hopes to get an opinion declaring the new state law unconstitutional.

County spokesman Erik Pappa said the county has "not reached any conclusions" about whether the battalion chiefs fall under the new law.

Contact Jeff German at or 702-380-8135.