County orders union employer to work, citing new law

Clark County management has shopped for Martin Bassick, president of the Service Worker International Union Local 1107, to report for work at a county task in a step that reflects the county’s analysis of a new state law worrying paid leave for union representatives.

The county’s personnels department informed Bassick in a letter Thursday to report at his county public works task at 8 a.m. Monday, according to correspondence obtained by the Review-Journal. The letter cites a costs that the Legislature passed this session and Gov. Brian Sandoval signed into law. An attorney for the SEIU, the county’s biggest union, challenges the county’s analysis of the law and has actually asked for settlements with the county to fix the matter.

Bassick validated Monday that he reported to his job as a plans mosaic for public works as advised, talking with a Review-Journal reporter while on his lunch break.

“I simply got this letter out of the blue,” Bassick said, including that no one from the county spoke to him prior to he got it.

County spokeswoman Stacey Welling decreased to comment Monday.

Under the county’s contract with the SEIU, the union president is enabled to be on full-time paid leave from his county task to focus on union-related tasks. Throughout that time, the county covers the union president’s income and advantages. It’s basic practice that other public-sector unions and local governments follow in Southern Nevada to one degree or another, granting paid leave not just for presidents however likewise for the part-time work of other union authorities.

Examples include paid leave for union stewards and staff members who take a trip to conferences and legislative events. Such leave is consisted of in cumulative bargaining arrangements that specify the kind of leave and variety of hours enabled.

Paid union leave for Clark County added up to $346,200 in 2013, a figure that consists of employees associated with the SEIU and the International Association of Firefighters Local 1908. Those costs are spread across 115 workers, varying from union leaders who invest much of their time on labor matters to county employees who spend just hours on union-related activities such as complaints.

Senate Costs 241 altered that system, leaving a couple other options. Under the brand-new law, if a staff member goes on paid leave for union-related work, the labor organization need to reimburse the government employer for that pay. Another option is for the government company to offer paid union leave, but just after the union makes a concession throughout written agreement arrangements that’s financially equal to the costs of the leave.

The legal question now between Clark County and the SEIU is if the existing provisions of the contract enabling paid union leave continue till the the next contract is worked out. The existing arrangement between the SEIU and the county was reached in 2012 and extended through June 30, 2013.

However the contract continues year-to-year unless the parties consent to alter or end it. Bassick stated that hasn’t taken place and the county and union still work under the written agreement, that includes other provisions such as time off and procedures for hiring and ending workers. The county and SEIU began working out a brand-new contract in 2013, and have actually been not able to reach terms for a brand-new written agreement.

In a letter to the county Friday, SEIU lawyer Michael Urban said the county’s letter requiring Bassick’s return to the county work environment is “unreasonable,” which nothing in the legislation applies to existing contracts.

In a Monday memorandum to County Manager Don Burnette about the application of the brand-new law to the SEIU, county attorney Mary-Anne Miller composed that the contract’s arrangement for continuing year-to-year is overtaken by an “interim agreement” that the two parties reached in 2013 that offered workers a 2 percent cost-of-living boost. Her memo, obtained by the Review-Journal, noted it’s “not simply a change to an existing arrangement.”

The county’s move likewise puts on union stewards, who typically break from their county tasks to handle complaints on a part-time basis as required.

Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak stated he knows the concern, noting it’s a legal issue based on a new law that will certainly need input from lawyers.

Bassick stated he’ll be meeting with county management about the problem– after he gets off work at 5 p.m. Monday. He said he’s enthusiastic the union and county can solve their distinctions.

Contact Ben Botkin at [email protected]!.?.! or 702-387-2904. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1

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