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‘Storm has passed’: Union wants judge to end injunction over teacher strike

The Clark County Education Association wants a judge to reverse an order that put a stop to rolling sickouts among teachers.

In court papers filed this month, the teachers union argued that because contract talks with the school district had been resolved, penalties for violating the order were no longer necessary.

“Whatever one thinks of the conduct of either of the parties here, it is clear that the storm has passed,” the union wrote in the motion.

After months of negotiations between the district and the union, which represents more than 18,000 licensed professionals, an arbitrator in December approved a new contract that included raises for teachers.

After staffing shortages closed eight schools for one day each, District Judge Crystal Eller issued a preliminary injunction in September and ruled that a teacher strike had occurred.

The union denied any involvement and appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court, which rejected an emergency motion for stay.

Last month, the union filed a petition with secretary of state’s office, aiming to change state law and exempt teachers from a ban on public employee strikes.

In court Thursday, District Judge Jessica Peterson said that, given the contract agreement, the basis for Eller’s ruling prohibiting a strike no longer stands, but the high court is still weighing the union’s appeal.

Should justices send the issue back to the lower court, Peterson said she probably would dissolve the order, adding that the appeal itself raises a “substantial issue.”

Ethan Thomas, an attorney representing the school district, said he does not think the judge has jurisdiction to dissolve the injunction, though he acknowledged that “there are no known sickouts taking place at this time.”

Bradley Schrager, a lawyer for the union, argued that the injunction has “outlived its practical usefulness” and also pointed to the penalties associated with violating it.

School district officials did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Bradley Schrager, a lawyer for the union, argued that the injunction has “outlived its practical usefulness” and also pointed to the penalties associated with violating it.

School district officials did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The union’s Executive Director John Vellardita told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Thursday that he thinks the injunction should be dissolved because there is no strike or strike threat.

As for Thursday’s court hearing on the motion, “We weren’t totally surprised that Peterson didn’t rule on that,” he said.

Later on Thursday, the union filed a notice and request with the Nevada Supreme Court seeking an order remanding the issue of dissolving the preliminary injunction to the lower court.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com. Follow @julieswootton on X.

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