LAS VEGAS – Today, a third unit of Nevada state employees filed for recognition as AFSCME with the Government Employee-Management Relations Board of the State of Nevada.
Since winning collective bargaining rights earlier this year, thousands of Nevada state employees have become union members with the goal of sitting at the bargaining table as AFSCME Local 4041. Known as the professional health care (PHC) unit, this latest group of workers joins other health care workers in the non-professional care unit (NPC) who filed for collective bargaining recognition in September. A group of Nevada state corrections workers became the first unit to seek recognition as AFSCME back in August.
“We are joining in solidarity with all health care workers across the state to have a voice on the job. We provide care, treatments, education, service coordination and advocacy to the most vulnerable Nevadans, and a voice on the job means we can advocate for policies that allow us to provide quality services,” said Heike Rüdenauer, a developmental specialist at the Nevada Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Autism Treatment Assistance Program.
Alongside workers in the NPC unit, workers in the PHC unit help those suffering from mental and behavioral disabilities, as well as those diagnosed with spectrum disorders and those who have developmental or other disabilities. These workers find treatments and customize support to fit their clients’ needs. PHC workers also provide medical care to those in the state’s custody.
Photo Credit: Ashley Jenkins
As workers at hospitals and health care facilities across the country face increasingly dangerous workplaces, Nevada health care workers are seeking to improve working conditions through collective bargaining.
“Over the years, workplace policies have been implemented with little to no input from front-line workers like us. Coming together as a union means we will have a strong, powerful voice to ensure our safety is taken into consideration in workplace policies, because we’ll be at the table when those decisions are made,” said Alonzo Thornton, a psychiatric nurse at the state HHS’ Aging and Disability Services Division.
“We are joining in solidarity with all health care workers across the state to have a voice on the job,” Thornton added. “We provide 24/7 medical care and health support, treatments, education, service coordination and advocacy to the most vulnerable Nevadans, and a voice on the job means we can advocate for policies that allow us to provide quality services.”
Nevada state employees have been organizing as AFSCME Local 4041 for over 50 years. This year, AFSCME members won the right for 20,000 state employees to bargain collectively over wages, working conditions and resources to improve state services. State workers must now file with the state as AFSCME, based on bargaining units determined by job classifications, to gain recognition for the purpose of collective bargaining.
After receiving recognition, the units will select bargaining teams to negotiate a contract with the state of Nevada in the coming months.