For good of state workers, association has to cleanup its act quickly

The fight between the State of Nevada Employees Association director and its board is giving the labor movement a black eye and could result in a step back for state employees.

The feuding between the director, Scott MacKenzie, and the elected board members has gotten so bad that the parent union has brought in its people to take over.

MacKenzie has been demoted, although he'll be able to reapply for the job when everything is straightened out, and the board has been stripped of its authority. The action came after accusations of meddling by the board in MacKenzie's decision-making on staff changes.

We hope they get their house cleaned up soon, because state workers can use all the help they can get.

Unlike school and other government employees, state workers don't have collective bargaining rights, not even for non-wage issues like workplace conditions such as seniority and grievance procedures.

That's the ultimate goal of the unions, but this spat does them no good.

The Legislature is not likely to grant those rights soon, and especially not now after witnessing the infighting in this union.

And as far as increasing membership, well, good luck. Already, the association has been losing membership for a number of years, despite the growth in the total number of state employees. It represents 2,722 dues paying members - about 13.7 percent of the work force.

The infighting may also handicap the labor association as it works with government officials in an advisory capacity toward better wages and work conditions. What governor or legislator would want to work with a union carrying this kind of baggage?


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