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Collective Bargaining on the Horizon for Nevada State Employees

Photo Credit: Getty / ehughes
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By Cyndy Hernandez Worth the Fight Workers' Rights

LAS VEGAS – After many years of organizing, members of AFSCME Local 4041 have had a breakthrough in their campaign to win collective bargaining rights for Nevada’s state employees – the only workers in the state who do not have the right to negotiate over workplace safety and conditions, salary and benefits.

Finally, all the pieces are in place to change that. The first step came last week, when state Sen. David Parks (D-Las Vegas) introduced SB135 in the Nevada State Senate. The measure would allow state workers to join together in union, and will soon be heard by the Senate Government Affairs Committee.

SB135 will enable more than 20,000 Nevada state employees to have a seat at the table with the governor and the Nevada Legislature and gain voice a in the decision making over working conditions and compensation. AFSCME members have been leading this change for state employees for years and will continue to do so until collective bargaining is a reality.

In one of the states hit the hardest by the Great Recession, Nevada state employees persevered through tough times. AFSCME members were able to beat back layoffs by making the tough decision to accept furloughs. As the state’s economy improved, AFSCME members took a stand to end mandatory furlough days and win raises for all state employees. These small wins showcased the power of a collective voice, but without collective bargaining, AFSCME members are limited in what real, lasting changes could be achieved.

“As AFSCME, we’ve been able to win some salary increases and make some changes in the workplace, but with collective bargaining we can do so much more to make sure our working conditions allow us provide great services to our communities,” said Lora McCarty, a family support specialist in Reno.

During the 2018 election cycle, Local 4041 ran its largest political action ever. AFSCME members played a critical role in electing a pro-worker majority in the legislature and in pro-worker Gov. Steve Sisolak’s victory, teeing up a tremendous opportunity to make collective bargaining a reality this year.

The best chance is by ensuring that the legislature passes SB135. With strong support from the governor and the legislature, getting this bill signed into law is a priority for Local 4041 members, who have been anticipating this for years.

Local 4041 members have spread the buzz to their co-workers, signing up new members every day and coming together ready to take their stories to the legislature.

“I want my legislator to know about the great work we do every day, but also how we can do so much more as correctional officers if we had the resources,” said Fernando Reyes  Guzman, a correctional officer from Henderson. “I am proud of what I do, but there are definitely changes in the workplace my co-workers and I want to make regarding safety and protocol issues, so we can do our jobs even better.”