The Las Vegas Police Protective Association has filed a complaint alleging that the Metropolitan Police Department is violating its contract with officers by restricting vacation time during the dates of the NFL Draft.
According to the complaint, filed Tuesday with the Nevada Department of Business and Industry’s Government Employee-Management Relations Board, the police union’s contract does not allow the department to suspend the use of vacation time or restrict employees from traveling out of state.
On Feb. 6, the department announced that employees could not take vacation days or travel out of state from April 22 to April 26 — which coincides with the dates of the 2020 NFL Draft from April 23-25, the complaint said.
“The announcement constitutes a unilateral change to the (collective bargaining agreement),” the complaint said.
‘Unfair labor practice’
An email sent from the union to its members on Tuesday said the department is legally required to “negotiate these matters with the association and its failure to do so constitutes an unfair labor practice.”
Union President Steve Grammas said Wednesday that the union recognizes that police need to be at big events such as the draft, but the department also has to negotiate vacation time restrictions beforehand.
“It could have been as simple as Metro asking us to sit down and negotiate this issue,” Grammas said.
Metro declined to comment on the complaint.
Grammas said after receiving a complaint, the Government Employee-Management Relations Board will set up a hearing for the department and the union to resolve the issue. He said the union can resolve conflicts internally with the department, but it wanted to file the complaint with the board because the draft is only two months away.
He said the board is “one of the only main ruling bodies that we have” to resolve conflicts. The Government Employee-Management Relations Board resolves disputes between local governments, employees and employee organizations, according to its website.
Grammas said that if officers have already requested time off for the April dates, then they won’t be required to work. But further time-off requests have been restricted, and officers are being told they can’t leave the state when off-duty during the period.
“We don’t do a job that all you’re doing is pushing papers everyday,” he said. “That weekend means a lot to them.”
An estimated 600,000 to 750,000 people are expected to attend events centered around the three-day draft, which will take place near the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road.
‘Huge rollout’ of officers envisioned
The complaint was filed the same day that the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority unanimously approved spending $2.4 million on preparations for hosting the draft. The LVCVA approved $500,000 for public safety costs including paying to have extra Metro officers and other public safety officials in the area.
Grammas said Metro has not indicated to him how many officers will be needed during the festivities.
He said he assumed the event would need a “huge, huge rollout of officers” which could include vehicle escorts, security, canine units, officers to close roads and possible snipers on the Strip.
The email sent to union members also indicated that Grammas and Mike Ramirez, the director of governmental relations, are planning to meet with county commissioners to “discuss the use of tax payer dollars to benefit a private organization.”
That was a reference to the LVCVA, which is supported primarily from tax revenue from motel and hotel rooms as well as exhibitor charges and fees from companies displaying at trade shows at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Grammas said the NFL should be paying for police services at the draft, not Clark County taxpayers.
“The NFL has more money then a lot of people would ever know what to do with,” he said. “If they want to pay for services then they can do it.”
The two busiest venues during the draft are expected to be the Bellagio fountains and lake, where a red-carpet platform for player introductions will be built on the water, and the main stage near the new Caesars Forum and the Linq Promenade, where NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will introduce players as they’re drafted in the first round.