The political push for state-worker collective bargaining

This paper shows that, when measured on a variety of metrics, compensation for Nevada state government workers is already significantly above market levels.

In spite of this, Nevada lawmakers are poised to extend collective bargaining to state government workers — a policy change that will increase state spending by approximately $500 million annually.

Read the study here.

Executive Summary

Extending the ability to collectively bargain to Nevada state government workers will increase state spending by approximately $500 million annually — a price that will be paid by taxpayers via higher taxes, decreased government services or both.

The argument put forward to justify this staggering increase in future spending is based on a false belief that state workers are underpaid.


  • Median earnings for Nevada state workers are already 29 percent above private earnings — a gap that is the fourth largest nationwide.
  • Average compensation for Nevada state workers ranked 10th highest nationwide on a raw, unadjusted basis, and fifth highest when accounting for the different price levels among the 50 states.
  • Finally, Nevada state government workers themselves demonstrate that current compensation levels are more than adequate via a voluntary quit rate that is just a tiny fraction of the overall quit rate of workers nationwide.

Unfortunately, giving state workers the ability to collectively bargain is nothing more than a political gift to labor organizations that will further widen the pay gap between private and public sector workers.

Taxpayers, who earn far less than state government workers, should not be burdened with the fiscal cost of such a blatantly political maneuver.

Read the study here.

Robert Fellner

Robert Fellner

Policy Director

Robert Fellner joined the Nevada Policy in December 2013 and currently serves as Policy Director. Robert has written extensively on the issue of transparency in government. He has also developed and directed Nevada Policy’s public-interest litigation strategy, which led to two landmark victories before the Nevada Supreme Court. The first resulted in a decision that expanded the public’s right to access government records, while the second led to expanded taxpayer standing for constitutional challenges in Nevada.

An expert on government compensation and its impact on taxes, Robert has authored multiple studies on public pay and pensions. He has been published in Business Insider,, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register,, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, and elsewhere.

Robert has lived in Las Vegas since 2005 when he moved to Nevada to become a professional poker player. Robert has had a remarkably successfully poker career including two top 10 World Series of Poker finishes and being ranked #1 in the world at 10/20 Pot-Limit Omaha cash games.

Additionally, his economic analysis on the minimum wage won first place in a 2011 George Mason University essay contest. He also independently organized a successful grassroots media and fundraising effort for a 2012 presidential candidate, before joining the campaign in an official capacity.