Nevada Policy’s Solution of the Week: Worker Freedom

In Nevada, the rights of government workers are being undermined by a patchwork of state laws that elevate the interests of politically connected public-sector unions over individual employees. Public-sector employees who disagree with the unions that purport to represent them are helpless in a system that favors “union security” over worker freedom.

Unfortunately, Nevada’s 80th Legislative Session seems intent on continuing down this path with SB337, which would allow public sector unions to forcibly represent all employees in an entire workplace, even if only a small fraction actually take part in an election to decide on representation. The bill represents the kind of “union security” provisions that have led to an environment where workers are disenfranchised and politically connected unions control the process from start to finish.

These types of union security laws in Nevada deny public-sector employees basic worker rights, such as the right to regularly vote upon their union representation, the right to decide not to be a member of a union (and thus cease paying dues) without restriction, and the right for non-members to represent themselves during negotiations with their employer.

True worker-first reforms would do three main things to prioritize the concerns of workers rather than politically connected unions, including:

1) Periodic government-union recertification;

2) “Workers’ Choice” in representation; and

3) Elimination of so-called “opt-out periods” that restrict when dues-paying members are able to withdraw from their union.

If enacted into state law, these three simple reforms would constitute measurable progress towards restoring and prioritizing the rights of both union and non-union employees in Nevada’s public sector.

Learn more about these reforms by reading Nevada Policy’s recent primer on labor policy here.

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