Las Vegas Sun

September 16, 2019

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

Union’s voice helps all workers

For decades, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, have been at the forefront of advocating for Nevada state employees at the biennial sessions of the Nevada Legislature. Over the years, we have fought for pay raises, ending furloughs and preventing privatization of state services. This year, we won a longtime goal of the union — the right to collective bargaining for over 20,000 employees.

Collective bargaining gives those who do the work a seat at the table to advocate for improvements to state services. We know our jobs best and know what resources we need to ensure every Nevadan has access to quality rehabilitation and mental health services, safe roads, quality state parks, educational opportunities, job training and other services. Collective bargaining also gives us the same rights other Nevada public service workers have to negotiate over wages and working conditions.

Public services, and the workers who provide them, have been under attack for far too long. Having a strong union allows state employees to advocate for resources to improve the lives of the communities we serve. When public service workers have collective bargaining, we advocate for things the entire community benefits from, like safer nurse-to-patient ratios, flexible schedules to accommodate more appointment times and safer workplaces.

A seat at the table through collective bargaining means a better Nevada for everyone.

The writer is president of AFSCME Local 4041.