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Teachers union wants to dismiss CCSD lawsuit

Updated August 21, 2023 - 4:36 pm

The Clark County Education Association filed a motion Monday seeking to dismiss a school district lawsuit that aims to prevent a future teacher strike.

The filing comes the day before a scheduled hearing in the case at 8 a.m. Tuesday in Clark County District Court.

In a statement Monday, the teachers union said it is “committed to ensuring that (the Clark County School District’s) efforts to stifle the First Amendment rights of 18,000 educators will not succeed.”

The union filed an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss, which stands for “strategic lawsuits against public participation.”

The motion cites a state law, saying it “provides for special dismissal of meritless lawsuits brought against defendants for exercising their First Amendment rights.”

The union alleged the district filed the lawsuit to chill educators’ speech and punish protected activity.

“What the district wants is a compliant teachers union, fractured and anxious, against which it can impose its will more easily, and this lawsuit, along with its spurious (Employee-Management Relations Board) petition, was part of a strategy to achieve that,” the union wrote in its statement. “The district, however, has grievously miscalculated.”

The union said its educators are more united than ever and CCEA is “more than prepared to win the contract that educators deserve.”

The district didn’t respond to a request for comment by late Monday afternoon.

Collective bargaining has been underway since late March. The latest two negotiation sessions were last week.

The district filed a lawsuit July 31 seeking an injunction to prevent a teacher strike. State law prohibits public employees from striking.

The lawsuit cites union statements saying that members will consider whether to take “work actions” if a two-year collective bargaining agreement isn’t reached by Saturday.

The district also filed a petition with the state’s Employee-Management Relations Board seeking permission to withdraw the union’s collective bargaining agent status.

In its motion Monday, the union wrote that there was no legitimate basis for the lawsuit and that “no one could have believed a teachers’ strike was imminent” when the lawsuit was filed or now.

The district’s lawsuit citations showed no evidence of strike preparations, no resolution or vote to engage in a strike and no instance of a teacher refusing to work, the union said.

The lawsuit was brought on the basis of “statements that no rational person could consider actionable or unlawful, or even portending unlawful conduct,” according to the motion.

The district filed the lawsuit during contentious contract negotiations, “seeking advantage in those talks by sowing dissension and trying to weaken the resolve of public school teachers who at this moment are working under an expired contract,” the motion says.

Union members have held protests, including at a school board meeting Aug. 10 and in front of schools over the last couple of weeks. The union is planning another protest at Thursday’s school board meeting.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on X.

230821 Ccea Anti-slapp Motion w Exh by Tony Garcia on Scribd

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