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Nevada DMV, welfare workers seek election to join union contract negotiations

The employees, who also include higher ed library technicians, are vying to be included in AFSCME’s collective bargaining contracts.
Eric Neugeboren
Eric Neugeboren
State Government

Nearly 3,000 state employees — including some working for the welfare agency and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles — may soon be included in collective bargaining agreements under a major state worker union.

The state employees on Thursday agreed to hold an election on whether to join contract negotiations led by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 4041. The election would give workers in this bargaining unit the choice of having AFSCME represent them in collective bargaining talks or not be involved in such deliberations.

The bargaining unit includes DMV service technicians, family support specialists in the Department of Welfare and Support Services, engineering technicians from the Department of Transportation and library technicians across all Nevada System of Higher Education institutions.

An employee’s affirmative vote in the election, which has not been scheduled, indicates support for a collective bargaining contract but does not require becoming a union member. 

“We’re looking to certify our bargaining unit as AFSCME, so we can join contract negotiations this fall,” Jackie Bertot, a DMV service technician, said in a press release. “We’ve gone 4 years without a union contract, and it’s time we take our seat at the table with our fellow state employees.”

If successful, the election could nearly double the number of state employees who benefit from AFSCME’s collective bargaining contracts, which currently cover around 3,500 state workers, including maintenance and custodial staff, engineers, scientists and certain office and health care workers.

AFSCME members whose workplaces are not in certified collective bargaining units can receive the union’s assistance on topics such as disciplinary matters but cannot reap benefits from these contracts.

State employees won the right to unionize in 2019, though not all have organized into unions. But AFSCME’s first contract negotiation faced obstacles after a third-party arbitrator awarded the union money for pay raises in 2022. The funding never materialized amid a quirk in the state’s two-year budget cycle — where the Legislature was out of session and unable to fund pay raises that year — and a partisan divide about authorizing the money retroactively.

In 2023, Democrats supported a bill that would have funded the retroactive pay increase awarded to state workers, but Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoed it. The union sued Lombardo but lost in district court in November. The case was appealed to the state Supreme Court, and a settlement was reached last week, though settlement documents provided no details.

The union also recently secured bonuses for longtime state workers after suing the state for determining that the bonuses could not apply to unclassified workers — typically those in leadership positions — and members not in collective bargaining units.


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