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Nevada state workers build power by ratifying historic first contract

Photo credit: Cyndy Hernandez.
By AFSCME Staff ·

LAS VEGAS – In a historic first, state workers have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with the state of Nevada.

On Sunday, members in the four bargaining units comprising AFSCME Local 4041 overwhelmingly ratified a tentative agreement. The contract will take effect on July 1, 2021, after it’s approved by the state Board of Examiners.

Workers in the four units – who have provided essential services to Nevadans throughout the pandemic – include nurses, mental health counselors, mental health technicians, developmental technicians, custodial and maintenance workers, highway workers, correctional officers, and other essential workers.   

This contract sets standards of employment that improve working conditions for thousands of state workers. It addresses vacancies, overtime, and shift and post bidding and includes a 3% wage increase in the second year of the contract for workers in the four units.

It also reopens negotiations for wage increases for the first year. That was made possible by better-than-expected state revenue projections spurred by billions of dollars the state received from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan – legislation AFSCME members fought for and President Joe Biden signed in March.  

“After fighting for 20 years to get a voice on the job and a seat at the table, Nevada state employees have a contract that will improve working conditions and enable them to better provide the public services Silver State communities need to build back better,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a release. “This contract gives Nevada state employees the respect they deserve. The next step must be for Congress to extend that same respect to all public service workers nationwide, empowering them with collective bargaining rights by passing the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.”

Harry Schiffman, an electrician at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and president of Local 4041, said the contract ”lays a solid foundation to ensure a strong and secure future for state employees and the essential services we provide to our communities.“

“When public service workers have a voice on the job, as we have exercised through collective bargaining, workers are better equipped to provide the services our communities need. As the largest union for Nevada state employees, AFSCME Local 4041 looks forward to a new chapter for state workers and the communities we serve,” he said.

Local 4041 members won collective bargaining rights for Nevada state employees during the 2019 legislative session and began contract negotiations in the fall of 2020. 

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