Teamsters’ lawsuit against City of Lawrence will go to trial in August

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

City of Lawrence workers affiliated with Teamsters Local Union No. 696, joined by folks affiliated with a handful of other unions, demonstrate outside Lawrence City Hall Tuesday, June 20, 2023.

A lawsuit filed against the City of Lawrence by Teamsters Local Union No. 696, the union representing the city’s solid waste and Municipal Services and Operations employees, is going to trial later this year, according to court records.

Judge Mark Simpson set Monday, Aug. 26, as the start date for the three-day trial. That decision occurred at a case management conference in October 2023, but it only recently was added to the statewide court records system as Kansas courts look to recover from a devastating cyberattack that took place the same month.

As the Journal-World has reported, the Teamsters filed a petition against the city in Douglas County District Court in June 2023. That petition alleges that city officials obstructed efforts to process grievances, refused to discuss working conditions in good faith and seemed to take a number of actions to retaliate against an employee for filing a grievance days before, including allegedly ordering the employee to paint tanks in the rain and watch 40 hours of training videos as part of the discipline being challenged in the grievance.

The city denied the allegations in the Teamsters’ petition in September 2023, about a month before the case management conference when the trial dates were set.

The city’s utilities and public works employees voted to unionize under the Teamsters in October 2021, and solid waste employees voted to unionize more than a year prior in August 2020.

This won’t be the only bench trial in Douglas County District Court that the city is facing in 2024. A lawsuit filed against the city by a group of landlords over changes to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance is also going to trial in May. In that case, the Landlords of Lawrence organization filed a civil suit against the city in April 2023 aiming to prevent certain parts of the ordinance from going into effect, claiming they are unconstitutional.

As the Journal-World has reported, that ordinance now prohibits landlords from refusing to accept rental applications based on source of income and makes it unlawful to discriminate based on someone’s status as a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking, and based on someone’s immigration status.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.