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Unions Savor Legislative Wins, Promise To Stay Active In 2020

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(AP Photo/John Locher)

Union workers protest in front of the Palms casino-resort, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Las Vegas. Members of a powerful Las Vegas casino workers union and other hospitality workers picketed outside the Palms, which has refused to bargain with the union.

Organized labor helped put Democrats in charge of Nevada's governor’s office and both houses of the Legislature for the first time in 30 years, and that alignment aided both public- and private-sector unions.

Legislation signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak provides collective bargaining rights for state workers and increased prevailing wage protections, which typically benefit union contractors.

Assemblyman Skip Daly, a Democrat from Sparks who also heads the Labors Union in Northern Nevada, said the collective bargaining bill, in particular, has been needed for a long time.

He said the state has been losing employees to the private sector and local jurisdictions because they've been prohibited from collective bargaining. He said the new bill will stop that from happening.

Daly also believes allowing state employees to bargain collectively will raise wages and improve benefits for everyone.

“I think the more people in organized labor, people in union positions and having the right to collectively bargain helps everybody in our society,” he said.

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While unions accomplished many of their goals, Rusty McAllister, executive secretary-treasurer at Nevada AFL-CIO, said there will always be something else to work on.

“I think over the course of time we’re always looking to improve the wages, hours and working conditions of our members. There is still stuff to do with health care that affects all of our members," he said, "There’s still issues that need to be worked on with regards to workforce development.”

One of the issues that might be ahead for unions is the Tesla factory in Northern Nevada. The United Auto Workers already has representatives in Nevada and organizer workers at that factory is in preliminary stages, Daly said.

State labor leaders say they hope union households remain active in the 2020 elections, which will choose the Legislature that redistricts the state following next year’s census.

“Just because you have something today doesn’t mean it can’t be taken away tomorrow,” Daly told State of Nevada. “The history we have recently proves to us that things can be better if we have people who are friendly to our positions.”

 

Guests

Skip Daly, assemblyman and labor leader; Rusty McAllister, executive secretary-treasurer, Nevada AFL-CIO

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