Nevada state workers call Saturday rallies over budget cuts

State workers represented by the AFSCME union have set protest rallies for Saturday to demand that Gov. Steve Sisolak include them in negotiations over budget cuts and other changes forced by the pandemic.

Harry Schiffman, Nevada president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said the collective bargaining law passed in 2019 gives state workers the right to negotiate over any changes in work conditions including furloughs.

Sisolak has said he is ordering a one day unpaid furlough each month for state employees to help cover lost revenue from the economic shutdown and that the pay raise they were supposed to get this coming fiscal year is canceled for lack of funds.

Rallies will be held outside the Nevada State Business Center in Las Vegas and the governor’s mansion in Carson City beginning at 10 a.m.

Schiffman said because the governor has refused to respond to their demands, they have filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the state.

“The way the governor is acting is a disgrace to our state and a disservice to all Nevadans,” he said. “He needs to come out of hiding and talk to us.”

He said those workers have value to the conversations because they know where there are potential savings and ways to save services and jobs.

He and Local 4041 Vice President Sonja Whitten said governors in other states are sitting down with AFSCME members and negotiating to produce better outcomes.

The collective bargaining law does include an out for the governor and Legislature on the subject of pay if the state is in a position where the money isn’t available.

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