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.

However:

  • 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.

Robert Fellner

Robert Fellner

Director of Policy

Robert Fellner is NPRI’s policy director and joined the Institute in December 2013. Robert has written extensively on the issue of transparency in government. He has also conducted legal research and assisted in crafting legal arguments for numerous public records-related lawsuits, including one which prevailed at the Nevada Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark decision that protected and expanded Nevadans’ rights to access and inspect government records.

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, Forbes.com, the Las Vegas Review Journal, the Los Angeles Times, RealClearPolicy.com, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, ZeroHedge.com 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.