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February 17, 2011 / jimnv

It Won’t Happen Here

Update @ 5:30 pm: “Wisconsin Protests: State Police Pursue Democratic Lawmakers Boycotting Vote

In Madison, WI there is a intense standoff over the Governor Scott Walker’s demand to eliminate collective bargaining for most Wisconsin state employees. The governor is supported by the Republican contingent of their state senate which has a majority. Unfortunately for them, 14 democratic senators have left the capitol or  possibly the state to force negotiations on the bill. By leaving they can blocked any action because at least one Democrat must be present when Republicans vote.

While this is playing out, thousands of  teachers, students and state workers are in the state capitol to protest the bill. In response, the governor has threatened to layoff up to 6,000 state workers if the bill does not pass.

All this is very interesting but won’t happen in Nevada. State employees do not and never had the right to collectively bargain for anything. They get what the legislature and the governor wants them to get.  That’s why state employees are paid much less than their counterparts working for local governments who have collective bargaining rights.

And, unlike Wisconsin state employees, Nevada state employees already pay half of their retirement contributions which are set to increase in July to insure PERS is solvent and pays down the unfunded liability.

PERS contribution information:

The combined PERS contribution rate will be 23.75 percent starting July 1, 2011 where employees will contribute 11.875 percent of their salary, up from 10.75 percent and employers will cover the other half. Police/Fire employees will see an increase of 2.75 percent to 39.75 percent.

State employees do not pay into Social Security and depend on PERS for their retirement.

BTW: Strikes by state or local government employees are illegal in Nevada:  NRS 288.230  “Legislative declaration; illegality of strikes.”



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  1. Lawrence Cassidy / Feb 18 2011 11:10 am

    Again, you hit the nail on the head.

    However, what amazes me is that I do not see more Nevada State employees (and retirees, for that matter) voicing their concerns. Perhaps this is because they do not have collective bargaining rights or the ability to strike, because they have been under constant attack in past and present legislatives sessions and gubernatorial administrations, because the press seems more inclined to publish stories and commentaries encouraging cuts to wages, benefits, and pensions of state employees and retirees, because too many state employees and retirees are personally influenced by misplaced political party loyalties, thus allowing their emotions to rule their reasoning, and because state employees and retirees are so demoralized by the pay cuts, the increase cost of and reduction in their health care benefits, the furlough days, the manpower shortages and increased workloads, and the lingering threat of being laid off eventually.

    Though I am not a labor union official of any sort, surprisingly, more Nevada state employees and retirees are not members of AFSCME Local 4041 (or of RPEN, for retirees only). The labors unions provide a voice to state employees and retirees with our representatives in Carson City for fair and just treatment. One of the most common questions asked of labor union representatives is how many employees do they speak for. The numbers are rather shameful, in light of the number of state employees and retirees there are, and in light of the constant attacks being made on their wages, benefits, and pensions.

    It is understandable that state employees and retirees may be demoralized and have given up any hope of being treated fairly and justly, but to remain silent, especially with how vocal those who encourage state representative to slash wages, benefits, pensions, and jobs are, regardless of the reason, is foolhardy.

    Needless to say, if our state representatives do not hear state employees and retirees voicing their concerns and protesting all the cuts and proposed layoff, they will think that it is okay with the majority of state employees and retirees to have their wages, benefits, and pensions reduced, and perhaps to suffer being laid off or having a coworker laid off.

    So, my message to State of Nevada employees and retirees is to write to the representatives in Carson City and voice your concerns, and write in commentaries and rebuttals to news stories and commentaries advocating cutting jobs, wages, benefits, and pensions. Then, join a labor union.
    In other words, say, “Ouch!” while you are being beat over the head, otherwise the powers that be won’t know that they are hurting you, because you are not complaining, and will continue to beat you over the head until you do complain.

    • jimnv / Feb 18 2011 11:15 am

      I belonged to SNEA/AFSCME for many years, starting in the late 1970’s and stayed a member even when I was a supervisor/manager.

      Though they can’t collectively bargain for anything, they can be an effective lobbyist and advocate. They are a great resource providing advice and information, especially when you might be in trouble or have a problem.


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