A Clark County, Nevada, judge has issued an injunction blocking teachers from participating in sickouts that have recently closed schools and disrupted classes in the Las Vegas area.
The Las Vegas Sun reports that Judge Crystal Eller said it was “preposterous” to conclude that the number of teachers calling in sick was a coincidence. Four Clark County district schools had to close Tuesday because of teacher absences.
“The court finds that a strike has occurred,” Judge Eller ruled, noting “an overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence that cannot be ignored.”
The school district and the Clark County Education Association (CCEA) are deadlocked in contract negotiations.
Since Sept. 1, eight schools have closed for a day because of a lack of staffing, and staff reductions forced two other schools to make classroom adjustments to stay open.
Strikes by government employees, including public school teachers, are illegal in Nevada. The law defines “strike” broadly to include work stoppages, slowdowns, sickouts and interference with operations.
CCEA Executive Director John Vellardita said the union disagreed with Eller’s ruling.
“Unfortunately, the script today in front of the court was the story that this union engaged in an illegal strike, and we didn’t do that,” he said. “I think there’s going to be some acknowledgment at some point that teachers are very angry in this school district.”
In its appeal, the union panned Eller’s order as “facially invalid for vagueness, non-specificity and overbreadth.”
The CCEA is seeking 18% raises over two years, among other demands. The district has offered 11% raises over two years,
The district has declared an impasse in negotiations, and the contract will go to arbitration.