City governments win arbitration judgment getting rid of longevity spend for some union staff members

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015|5:30 p.m.

Local governments across the valley scored a major success in the continuous controversy over worker pay when an arbitrator sided with Clark County in a disagreement with its largest employee union.

The arbitrator’s decision eliminates longevity pay, a long-standing benefit for public staff members, for all brand-new members of the Service Employees International Union Resident 1107, which represents about 5,000 rank-and-file county staff members. The county approximates doing away with longevity pay will save it $264 million in worker expenses over the next 30 years. Only new hires, not existing workers, will be affected by the ruling.

“Although durability pay can be a source of included pay for some workers, the landscape has actually altered,” the arbitrator wrote in his decision. “The case for eliminating durability pay for new hires is a strong one, and this change will certainly have no financial effect on current employees.”

The choice shows a shift underway amongst local governments, who have actually systematically phased out longevity spend for brand-new hires. Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, City Cops and the Las Vegas Valley Water District do not provide durability pay. The benefit is still offered to brand-new hires at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, University Medical Center, the Regional Transportation Commission, the Southern Nevada Health District and the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority.

The arbitrator’s decision deals with a more-than-two-year contract dispute in between the county and SEIU, mostly due to a stalemate over durability pay.

While the county pressed to eliminate the benefit, the union responded to with an offer to delay the length of service had to get approved for durability pay from eight years to 11 years.

The union suggested that durability is a tool to bring in brand-new employees and maintain those who had actually topped out on the pay scale. But the county said the costly benefit did little to reward employee efficiency.

“We felt the whole time that we had a strong case and the arbitrator plainly felt the same method,” county supervisor Don Burnette stated in a statement.

The decision also grants employees a 4.5 percent expense of living increase over 2 years, slightly lower than the 4.75 percent requested by the union.

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