Clark County to SEIU: 2 percent COLA will be restored if you drop complaint


Clark County has offered its largest union a proposal that would restore a 2 percent pay cut in 2011 in exchange for dropping a complaint with the state that accuses the county of not following an agreement for restoring the salaries.

Meanwhile, contract negotiations between the county and the Service Employees International Union Local 1107 have continued and the union has sought salary increases that go beyond the 2 percent restoration. County commissioners and union officials discussed the dispute Tuesday.

The union is pushing for the restoration, citing a 2011 agreement that called for the restoration of the 2 percent pay cut when non-union employees received it. Non-union employees received the 2 percent restoration in August.

County Manager Don Burnette said the intent has always been to restore the 2 percent through the collective bargaining process. The county and SEIU, which represents about 5,500 county staffers who work in areas such as the Department of Family Services and the Department of Aviation, started negotiations in June.

The recent offer isn’t the county’s first effort to offer 2 percent. In June, the county extended an offer to the SEIU for a 2 percent cost-of-living increase and a 2 percent merit increase for eligible employees that would have eliminated longevity pay for new hires. The union has resisted eliminating longevity pay.

The latest 2 percent offer doesn’t require new hires to give up longevity pay. The county’s latest offer would restore the 2 percent and require the SEIU to withdraw the complaint it filed in January with the state’s Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board.

Restoring the 2 percent would cost about $4.2 million annually.

The SEIU has maintained that the 2011 agreement — a one-page document — is a stand-alone pact that isn’t tied to the ongoing collective bargaining process. The organization also has resisted efforts to tie the 2 percent restoratation to longevity pay, which adds to the salaries of employees after they hit the eight-year mark.

In January, the SEIU filed a complaint with the state’s Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board to enforce the agreement. County attorneys say the 2011 agreement is no longer valid, as it’s not tied to the collective bargaining agreement reached in 2012.

In January, the SEIU’s proposal for a four-year contract sought a 4 percent cost-of-living increase the first year and 3 percent cost-of-living increases in each of the three subsequent years.

Referencing a union flier, commission Chairman Steve Sisolak asked SEIU Local 1107 President Martin Bassick if that proposal meant that the SEIU is seeking a 6 percent salary boost, noting the union doesn’t consider a 2 percent restoration part of bargaining.

“We’re not asking for a 6 percent increase — no,” Bassick said. “If this document is honored by Clark County, of course our proposals will change for current collective bargaining.”

It’s unclear if the union will accept the offer, which was made Friday.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-405-9781. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.

 

Rules for posting comments

Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Stephens Media LLC or this newspaper. This is a public forum. Read our guidelines for posting. If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon next to the comment.