Page 19 - March 2021
P. 19

Recently, the City has been engaging not only in conduct to disrupt the bargaining relationship by unilaterally imple- menting changes to the contract without negotiating with the Lodge, but equally troubling, Lodge 7 has noticed the City punishing or retaliating against officers for engaging in pro- tected activities. Lodge 7 has challenged such conduct by un- abashedly filing charges against the City.
The following factors, if supported by evidence, set forth a prima facie, or viable, case of discrimination in violation of the act: (1) the employee was engaged in union or other pro- tected activity; (2) the employer was aware of such activity; and (3) the employer took adverse action against the employ- ee for discriminatory reasons.
Various courts have found that “in establishing the third portion of the prima facie case, the question is whether the employees’ exercise of protected rights was a ‘substantial or motivating factor’ in the Respondent’s adverse employment actions.” Either direct or circumstantial evidence may be uti- lized to establish this “causal nexus,” or connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action.
Circumstantial evidence of union animus may include the following:
1. Timing of employer’s action in relation to the protect- ed, concerted activity;
2. Hostility toward protected, concerted activity;
3. Disparate treatment; or
4. Shifting or inconsistent explanation for the adverse ac-
If Lodge 7 meets its initial burden, then the burden shifts to
the City to demonstrate that it would have taken the adverse
action in the absence of the protected activities.
Pursuing grievances, questioning employment decisions, advocating for certain rights, demanding contract compli- ance and raising safety concerns are all examples of protect- ed activity for which it is unlawful for the City to retaliate with an adverse employment action. By retaliating against such members, the City is trying to send a clear message that those who speak out aggressively in support of the bargain- ing unit, Lodge 7 or the contract will be punished by the City. The threat is also understood: Unless you behave in a manner that the City deems acceptable, the City will try to ruin your
Simply put, Lodge 7 will not tolerate such actions and will
file the appropriate charges. Recently, it is not uncommon for the City to target officers unlawfully due to being an ag- gressive and active supporter of the membership of Lodge 7. This can include not only rank-and-file Police Officers, but also unit and watch representatives and even properly elect- ed Lodge 7 officials.
The City’s conduct frustrates the underlying purposes of the act and causes significant damage to the collective bar- gaining relationship. It has the tendency of sending a mes- sage to, or having a chilling effect on, other members who witness how the City treats such union advocates.
Lodge 7 will not stand idle, but rather will pursue all lawful claims against the City aggressively when it observes any of its members being discriminated against. At least for now, the act is on our side.

   17   18   19   20   21