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Nevada state workers to get furlough pay following months of AFSCME member advocacy

Local 4041 members held a rally in 2020 demanding furlough pay. Photo credit: Cyndy Flores
Nevada state workers to get furlough pay following months of AFSCME member advocacy
By Cyndy Flores ·

LAS VEGAS – Nevada state workers will see higher pay in January after the state of Nevada approved using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to reimburse them for going on furlough in 2021.

The Dec. 15 decision by the Nevada Interim Finance Committee (IFC) came after members of AFSCME Local 4041 pushed for this policy for months.

“As front-line workers, Nevada state employees proudly served our communities through the pandemic,” said Local 4041 President Harry Schiffman. “We are glad the state heard the voices of state employees, who have been advocating for ARPA funds to reimburse furlough leave from 2021, as we negotiated with the state in 2020.”

Nevada, whose economy relies heavily on tourism, suffered huge revenue losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Local 4041 members working for the state were furloughed in large numbers. Knowing it was up to them to protect their jobs and wages, they mobilized to get the state to negotiate over budget cuts. After holding rallies in both Las Vegas and Carson City, the state met with Local 4041 to negotiate.

Local 4041 successfully negotiated an agreement that protected jobs and annual merit pay increases, reduced furloughs from 12 to six days, and included language that would reimburse workers for any furlough days should the state’s revenues recover.

AFSCME members across the country played a big role in passing ARPA in 2021, which provided Nevada with $2.8 billion that could be used to invest in the state’s workforce.

Throughout 2022, Local 4041 members led the fight to hold the state accountable in reimbursing workers for furloughs they took in 2021 with ARPA funds. Union members made calls to the governor’s office and gave statements at IFC meetings, sharing how they’ve carried the state through the pandemic and deserve to be compensated for their work.

In her comments at the Dec. 15 IFC meeting, Janell Woodward, recording secretary for Local 4041, said this was a step in the right direction for state employees.

“This will go a very long way in raising employee morale and helping in times where inflation is still around 10% or more. The state is experiencing severe staffing shortages secondary to the very low pay and expensive health care costs. Reimbursing furlough days immediately will help put some funds back into the pockets of state employees,” Woodward said.

State workers should see the furlough pay in one of their January 2023 paychecks.

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