Fourteen adult probation officers filed suit Monday against their boss, Community Supervision and Corrections Department Director Bill Fitzgerald, alleging retaliation for their efforts to organize into a union.The alleged near brawl was between Van Os' wife who was photographing the event and an anti-union employee who allegedly assaulted Mrs. Van Os when she tried to take her photograph and began yelling out to the assembled reporters. I'll see if I can lay my hands on a copy of the plaintiff's complaint in lawsuit for more information.
But their news conference on the suit turned into a near-brawl Monday evening when a probation officer loyal to Fitzgerald got into a shouting match with a lawyer's wife and loudly proclaimed them all "disgruntled workers."
Lawyer David Van Os said the 14 are part of a wider group of officers who were retaliated against last year after more than 100 signed a petition citing workplace safety concerns. Some set up a meeting with Fitzgerald and an organizer from Service Employees International Union.
Fitzgerald agreed to — then canceled — a Dec. 19 meeting and on Dec. 21 sent out an e-mail informing everyone in the department that they must reapply for their jobs.
"This is going to be one of the easiest (cases) I've ever handled," Van Os said.
See prior related Grits posts: