Collective bargaining planned changes protested by unions | NevadaAppeal.com

Collective bargaining planned changes protested by unions

Assemblyman Randy Kirner, R-Reno, agreed to remove the piece of AB182 public unions said would kill them, but those unions still protested the plan saying it would destroy the seniority system and make it impossible to predict union membership.

The original bill prohibited the “check off” that had local governments deduct union dues from employee paychecks. Kirner agreed to remove that language but said he did so in trade for an agreement allowing union members to opt in or opt out of membership at any time during the year.

Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick D-North Las Vegas said even a health club has some controls on when a person can opt out.

“What I could see happening is when it came time for agreements to come around, everybody would join but, as soon as that was done, everyone would get out,” she said comparing it to the health club where everyone joins in January but, by March, is no longer working out.

She said that would make it impossible for unions to budget, hire staff and plan services for members.

“I submit to you that if they are providing the services, people will stay,” said Kirner.

Union officials also objected to language giving local governments control over when to declare budget problems require a reduction in work force and allowing locals to consider factors other than seniority in layoffs.

Union officials representing a variety of organizations including Metro police, the AFL-CIO and firefighters said seniority is a key to what unions have fought for for decades and allowing local officials to use all sorts of other considerations would violate those long-standing agreements.

Rusty McAllister representing firefighters said it’s obvious the local government would lay off the 20-year veteran at top scale rather than the first year worker at the bottom regardless of abilities.

“That’s the end of seniority,” said Danny Thompson of the AFL-CIO.

Kirner argued other factors than seniority should be considered including special abilities of certain employees and their work ethic as well as the disciplinary record of veteran workers who might be less desirable.

Thompson said that would just open the door to a lot of litigation before the Employee Management Relations Board and in district court.

Union officials also objected to moving certain employees outside the scope of collective bargaining. Kirner said those were professional and managerial or administrative positions.

But Ron Dreher representing law enforcement said it excludes anyone above lieutenants in a police agency. He argued those police don’t have hire and fire authority and should be allowed in collective bargaining. Sean Higgins representing Clark County prosecutors said barring union rights for deputy district attorneys who have no administrative or managerial powers is unfair.

The committee took no action on AB182.