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: