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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Officers charge UPD with unfair labor

GW is facing four charges for unfair labor practices directed at the University Police Department, filed by officers who say the department’s leaders targeted them for engaging in union activities.

The charges, filed through the National Labor Relations Board – a body that investigates allegations that employers violated laws – were filed from March to late May, and claim that UPD Chief Kevin Hay, under the umbrella of the University, refused to negotiate with unionized employees.

A charge filed March 2 states that UPD officer Darrin Carter, also president of the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America union, received recurring unfavorable assignments, unfair write-ups and disciplinary actions, as well as unnecessary investigations. It also says UPD issued him “absence without leave” warnings, despite medical certification.

Carter said he filed an unfair labor practice charge as an individual – not as the union president – because he felt singled out by a hostile work environment.

He said after he was written up and had received a letter for being tardy to his shifts 12 times in a four-month period, he was reluctant to file charges relating to unfair labor practices, because he thought the discipline was routine procedure.

But another officer believed the actions against Carter were personal, and bet Carter that he would arrive to work late – and disruptively – and would not be written up. The other officer allegedly arrived late for nearly 30 days without facing any action.

Carter said UPD began to back-enforce attendance policies, writing individuals up for tardiness dating back to 2008. He said, when he asked Hay why the department was enforcing attendance matters from three years ago, Hay allegedly said former interim UPD Chief James Isom – who passed away earlier this year – was ill, and the process became backlogged as a result.

The union filed another charge against GW April 27, alleging that UPD disciplined employees – including Carter – due to union activity, and department higher-ups also refused to negotiate officers’ conditions of employment.

Two charges filed May 31 allege that the University declined to give SPFPA members who are UPD officers information on disciplinary actions and again refused to discuss conditions of employment.

In response to the charges, Hay said GW is “committed to complying with its collective bargaining agreements and all applicable laws.”

“The University is confident that it has acted appropriately with respect to the matters raised,” Hay said. “We will be meeting in the future with Union representatives to discuss open matters.”

He said, beyond those comments, GW will follow its practice of not commenting on pending disputes or union negotiations.

Earlier this year, the University settled two cases relating to unfair labor practices, and posted an NLRB notice in UPD’s Woodhull House. The written notice said GW would not illegally deny union representation or suspend employees for unionizing. u

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