Poll: Nevadans, by a 4-1 margin, want transparency in collective bargaining

Michael Schaus

Sunshine Week (March 15 – 21) — Nearly three out of four likely Nevada voters want more transparency from public employee unions and government agencies, according to a new statewide public opinion poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights on behalf of the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

When asked if labor negotiations between public unions and government employers should be made transparent and open to the public, Nevadans overwhelmingly agreed, with 73 percent of total respondents supporting such a measure.

Support was strong across all demographics, including two-thirds of current union members responding in favor of greater transparency.

“Unfortunately, Nevadans simply aren’t receiving the kind of openness they expect, and are entitled to, when it comes to union negotiations with government agencies,” said Nevada Policy Communications Director Michael Schaus.

While the state’s Open Meetings Law requires that government business be conducted in public view, contract negotiations with government unions are exempt from this requirement — shutting government workers and taxpayers out of the process that determines how their tax dollars will be spent.

“I think most people are probably pretty shocked when they learn that these negotiations over how to spend public dollars happen behind closed doors,” Schaus said. “Such secrecy is directly at odds with what Nevadans expect from their government.

“As this poll demonstrates, making the process more transparent is something Nevadans, including union members themselves, overwhelmingly support.”

The bipartisan support for greater transparency in government also extends to Nevada lawmakers.

“During his time as Clark County Commissioner, Governor Steve Sisolak was emphatic about the importance of allowing the public to see how union officials and public agencies are deciding to spend our tax dollars,” Schaus said. “It turns out an overwhelming majority of Nevadans share the Governor’s view on this issue.”

In addition to asking about increased transparency in the collective bargaining process (73 percent support to 18 percent opposed), the poll also asked likely Nevada voters about the following issues:

  • Making it easier for public employees to drop union membership by eliminating rigid opt-out windows
    (72 percent support vs 19 percent opposed)
  • Allowing workers who drop union membership to represent themselves in contract negotiations
    (52 percent support vs 28 percent opposed)
  • Eliminating “union leave” policies that allow public employees to receive taxpayer-funded salaries for performing non-governmental union work, such as lobbying or union recruitment
    (51 percent support vs 31 percent opposed)

More information about these policy proposals can be found by clicking here.

Full poll results can be found by clicking here: 

Poll of Nevada 2020 Likely Voters 
Survey conducted on January 30th – Feb 4th , 2020
By OH Predictive Insights

n=1,000 with a MoE of +/- 3.1%
Blended Phone Survey via 37.4% Live caller/ 62.6% IVR

Michael Schaus

Communications Director

Michael Schaus is communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute and is responsible for managing the organization’s messaging with the public, the media and NPRI’s membership. He is also currently a policy advisor for the Heartland Institute.

Prior to joining NPRI, Michael worked in media as a national columnist, a political humorist and a conservative talk show host in Denver, Colorado. Active in both print and radio, he shared his insights and free-market economics perspective with large local and national audiences.

Michael became interested in economic theory earlier in life while employed in the financial sector. As the liaison between a local community bank and the Federal Reserve, he acquired an in-depth understanding of just how manipulative big government can be toward industry and enterprise. It was that experience with big-government intervention that initially led him into public-affairs commentary.