Listen: Union, Facebook, Mclean discussed on Labor Relations Information System
"System. My name is will aitchison. I'll be your host for the next forty five minutes sir. So as we go over recent developments in the Public Safety Labor and Employment World I want to start with a little bit of an update. I know I sort of battered you over the head for the last two months about the need for public safety employees to stop posting stupid. Good stuff on social media sites I just want to give you a bit of an update on what the current state of play as with respect to the fallout from. What's it's known as the plain view project you're we're called? The plain view project is an effort by a Philadelphia attorney to identify I five facebook posts of law enforcement officers in eight different jurisdictions. They spoke post that She deemed the attorney deemed claimed were racist or sexist or advocated violence or were religiously intolerant or were in some way or another offensive and there was an immediate and huge national reaction to her effort she posted a on in a database and online database. That you can get to by going to the plain view project's website. She posted what it was a law enforcement horseman officers in these HR actions have been saying On facebook and all eight law enforcement agencies began investigating hitting the officers that she identified in this database. So wh what sort of update do we have as to. What's gone on on with respect to those officers? Well let's start with Philadelphia where the action I think has been the swiftest and also possibly the most severe That we will see coming out of this And in Philadelphia you had seventy two officers who were placed on destiny or administrative ministry of Leave With Bay and eventually the department decided to fire thirteen of them for their social social media posts for their facebook posts. Seven of those thirteen resigned and that laid six who have been fired. Who last last? I heard Their Union of Turtle Order please was in the process of evaluating whether or not to challenge those terminations in arbitration. There were a host of other officers who were disciplined either with suspensions or reprimands and the like And that seems to be it in in terms of Philadelphia doesn't look like There will be any more disciplinary actions taken and Philadelphia. Another big one was a saint Louis and in Saint Louis. The action was a little bit different While the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating though social media posts. The local district attorney. She's known Essays Circuit Attorney and Saint Louis Almost immediately put twenty two officers from the department on her Brady list or as she puts it her exclusion list. She is saying. I'M NOT GONNA call those officers as witnesses in criminal cases and So we're going to have to see how that plays out whether or not they'll be a legal challenge to her doing that without anything that's remotely due process right. She just simply reacting to the post making the judgment not giving the officers a chance to be heard. We'll have to see how that one plays out and also the Disciplinary action that if any taken against those twenty two officers then there's a small jurisdiction it's Denison Texas. It only has twenty four thousand people off and it was for some reason. One of the eight jurisdictions identified by the plain view project. And what has happened in Denison one is that we've had a two officers who the department decided to at least initially a fire it. It ended up being one officer who intended to terminate. But he's now no longer with the department for other reasons One received a written reprimand and and two others were in the words of the chief Appropriately Cancer Council. There have been interesting. Developments as well in Phoenix The Phoenix police chief immediately. Pull twelve officers off the streets and announced an intention to investigate all of the Phoenix. Six officers whose posts were identified by the plain view project. So far I have not seen any results of those disciplinary investigations a published but what has happened in saint in excuse me in Phoenix. That's been very interesting. Has Been the Union as a publicly announced announced that it is investigating whether or not there are services out there that can scrub the social media. Media counts of its members. Union is the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. Please it's usually known and they knew stories about this scrubbing scrubbing service. Indicate that there are some that are available for three dollars a month when per individual when a plea announced that it was going to look into the scrubbing service it immediately came in for condemnation from uh some people in the community who were saying and now you just simply trying to erase evidence of the officers misconduct. I haven't seen word yet on whether plea actually went through and implemented of the scrubbing service purchased it for its members. The last year restriction I want to talk about is Dallas. Police Department in Dallas for active-duty operators were placed on administrative leave. Twenty one others were placed in the middle of internal affairs investigations and Last count there been no disciplinary decisions made in any of those cases before I move off of social media. I do want to talk a little bit about a an an odd case An odd case tend that these are police officers who are working for a a private university Hampton University in Virginia which is Historically an African American University today it fired nine of its campus police officers. I can't find how big the campus police department is for Hampton University But I'll Betcha nine is a pretty big chunk of the entire police force. What these officers were doing was they were engaged. And what is described as a means more so at the main war theory is as you go out there. You find these memes on various web pages and you try to escalate a battle with other people as to who who can find memes. That are funnier or more offensive or more outlandish and in the eyes of the University University. Nine of those officers across that line. I would be shocked if any of those officers have any employment rights is to the job. This is Virginia. There are no police unions in Virginia. That have any collective bargaining rights I'd be shocked if the only possible mclane the officers had was potentially under the First Amendment and those claims are going to be very difficult to make now. I want to conclude food with just a little bit of advice to everybody. And then I'll stop beating this drum Two pieces of advice I from the Hampton University case there are all sorts of law enforcement. That's just law enforcement. There's also firefighter. MEMES that are out there that you can find that are offensive Ansett. Some of them are published on facebook pages and other social media pages. They're collected there. There's a a huge police humor facebook page. That has something like half a million followers memo to everybody just because you find a mean somewhere on the internet doesn't mean you should either publish it or expect to to be free from discipline if you publish it anytime. You are posting something. You are engaged in your own own conduct. You're making the decision about it and you are potentially subject to disciplinary action for that decision second piece of advice. If you're a public safety employees I hope you think twice three times and five times about whether it is worth it to you to have a public safety presence that in any way way explicitly or implicitly identifies you as a public safety employees. Honestly if that was a twenty two year-old Contemplating Service as a corrections officer firefighter or police officer. I wouldn't be John It. The risks are just too high. And you know what we can argue back and forth as to whether that's right whether it should be the case that public safety employees have less rights to publish stuff on social media than other employees. What I'm concerned learned about is that we have very good evidence that public safety employees are being held to a different standard than everybody else else with respect to what they're posting and that we are losing police officers and firefighters around this country to who these pulse? Stop it okay. Let's talk about something less depressing. Okay there's as I really fascinating case that comes out of Massachusetts And this is coming from the Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission. Actually Ashley and Administrative Lodge there and it's a fascinating case because it involves the intersection between three things and those three. The things are an employee due process rights under the Supreme Court's decision of Louder Mel Verses Cleveland Board of Education so it's a constitutional national case Secondly the unions duty of fair representation than the scope that and third the employer's obligation nation to share information with the Union about disciplinary cases. So how how do all of those three things come together other in the same case. Well this is a case that involves the town of Auburn Massachusetts and it and the police employees is there are represented by what's known as the Massachusetts Coalition police and one of the members of the coalition is a dispatcher. By the name of Maureen Maureen mclane and department begins investigating. McLean about a call. She took on July eleventh. Two thousand seventeen and as the investigation expanded The Department started looking at other calls. And how McLean handled other calls. She gets placed on administrative leave department issues a a preliminary disciplinary decision. The mclane requests a louder male on hearing a due process hearing and the coalition steps. Him says we're going to represent McLean at the louder mill hearing we want a copy of all relevant audio recordings and all investigatory documents with respect to the calls the employer that department gets this request for information It partially response at however it the DAX certain documents and it refuses to provide other documents to the Union the Union of course a coalition files an unfair for Labor practice complaint and says luck the department's decision to withhold. This information violates its obligation to share information mation relevant to grievances and potential grievances. Let me go off on a sidetrack for a moment. Why would the department withhold that information I mean I just gotTa say That sometimes I don't understand the thinking that goes into these. We're not GONNA do this sort of decision So in this case if you're at the employer you know if you you issue final disciplinary action against dispatcher. mclain you know the unions going to be able to get all this information in the run-up to many arbitration or whatever disciplinary appeal system exists in Auburn Massachusetts. You know they're going to get some time or another. Why not at? Give it to the Union before the Louder Mel hearing. So you understand the full scope of the Union's fully developed developed arguments and you can make the best decision possible after the louder mill hearing. Why wouldn't you give the union everything it wants well for some reason? The town of Auburn didn't and that gave us this unfair Labor practice compliant. So how does how does this case get resolved well. The Administrative Lodge starts with a pretty basic proposition. The obligation to bargain in good faith includes with it an obligation to share information relevant to new mandatory subjects of bargaining anything. That's negotiable under the law. So for example an employer has the right to ask the union. Tell us what comparable jurisdictions you are using when you're in negotiations that's relevant to the bargaining process relevant to the mandatory Tori subject of bargaining of wages hours and the like so the Union. What have to disclose that information while this obligation to share information and relevant to the bargaining process extends to grievances and potential grievances? So that whenever you do have a grievance or potential attention grievances a union can tell the employer gives us everything you've got and the employer has to do so and of a dozen. It will be in breach breach of its obligation to collectively bargain in good faith so the. AL J. starts with that basic proposition. That the stuff that the coalition wanted here that stuff generally has to be produced. What's the town's argument? The town's argument is Louder Mel. This hearing that the union wants this stuff for louder. Mill is not a union rights issue. It is a constitutional protection and because Louder Mel writes. These due process rights arise out out of the Constitution. They are individually held rights. That means dispatcher. McLean has louder. Male writes the Union doesn't have abani argues the town. The Union is not acting therefore in capacity the exclusive representative for employees when it's representing. McLean in the louder. Mel hering is just like any other representative like an attorney. My show up. We don't have the obligation to give any of those people the information the Union is asking for and simply because this is the union with whom we also have a bargaining relationship. Doesn't mean we have to turn this information over in advance of a louder mill hearing you get the argument. It's basically that the union is functioning kind of a surprise attorney and not as a union not se exclusive bargaining representative tentative for employees How does the Administrative Law Judge Deal with that first of all? He doesn't like the argument. Ends up rejecting acting it. And here's a couple of lines from the Al Jay's opinion the information sought by the union was relevant to carry out its statutory duties and representing McLean at the Louder Mel. hering because it pertain to the terms and conditions of her employment with the town although the town maintained says union was not entitled to the requested Information Because the arbitration procedures of the Party's."