The Clark County Education Association was wrong to expel a dissenter from its ranks and was ordered to reimburse Ron Taylor for his expenses in challenging his expulsion, the Local Government Employees-Management Relations Board ruled this week.
The board, a state entity that resolves unfair labor practices, ordered the teachers union to restore Taylor's full rights as a member, which include union representation at school grievance hearings, malpractice insurance and discounted movie tickets.
Taylor's expenses in the case could cost the education association about $10,000.
Because the union was guilty of "prohibited labor practices," a public statement or posting will be made of the case. Taylor said he was going to make sure the posting is "on every union bulletin board in every school in Clark County."
The board ruled that Taylor's expulsion could have "a chilling effect" on other members who wanted to criticize the education association, which represents teachers in the Clark County School District. The union also showed "personal animosity" toward Taylor and never tried to work with him on his concerns, the ruling states.
Taylor, a middle school teacher who represented himself before the state board, said the union tried to get rid of him for raising questions about how the union was spending its money and for criticizing the union's health care benefits for members.
Taylor said the union had accused him of breaking its code of conduct for members, but the case fell apart because of insufficient evidence.
A hearing to contest a member's expulsion would normally take 90 days, Taylor said, but the union dragged it out over two years and hired a law firm to file counterclaims, which increased Taylor's expenses.
John Jasonek, executive director of the Clark County Education Association, said the employee-relations board made a "bad ruling" and he planned to appeal. He said many organizations would file briefs in support of the teachers union.
Jasonek argued that the case was not about dissent but about the union's right of self-preservation and the right to kick out hostile members. The union director said Taylor "was in it to kill it," by recruiting members for the Teamsters and trying to decertify the Clark County Education Association.
Taylor, who is a School Board candidate for District B, said, "If they want to waste more money, go ahead."
Taylor doubted that the union could appeal since it had stipulated to the facts before the state board.
When the association's lawyer, Francis Flaherty, admitted that the union expelled Taylor because of his move to decertify and organize for another union, the employee relations board decided that the union did not have a case. It's illegal to "restrain or coerce anyone of their right" to join a union or organize, the board stated.
Because former union president Mary Ella Holloway brought the case against him, Taylor said he informed the Clark County School District that she was guilty of a prohibited labor practice since she has applied for a new job with a district committee that would resolve labor issues.
Contact reporter James Haug at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-799-2922.