North Las Vegas union backs concessions to save 144 jobs

North Las Vegas' largest employee union ratified contract concessions Thursday that, if approved by the City Council, will save $17.7 million and 144 jobs.

Members of Teamsters Local 14, which represents about 500 city workers from secretaries to managers, voted 356-120 in favor of the concessions.

"I'm relieved," said Steve Harney, the union's vice president. "We did the right thing for the city and our employees, who can now be at ease through the holidays."

The agreement includes unpaid furlough days that would essentially shut down city offices between Christmas and New Year's Day. It also includes the suspension of cost-of-living raises for part of this fiscal year and in 2011.

The agreement will be considered at an upcoming meeting of the City Council.

The city, which is dealing with a $35 million shortfall through fiscal year 2011, laid off 188 employees in June. Another 44, all North Las Vegas Detention Center workers, were let go in October after the detention center lost about a third of its inmates to a facility for federal inmates in Pahrump.

The city on Monday approved a budget reduction plan that includes the elimination of 251 jobs, which includes the 144 Teamsters jobs that will be saved if the council approves the agreement.

The city's police union is still in concession talks with the city.

The North Las Vegas firefighters union, meanwhile, has come to a temporary stalemate in its talks with the city, a union official said. The city rejected a recent concession offer because the firefighters union, in exchange, wanted a guarantee that there would be no layoffs, said Jeff Hurley, president of the union.

City officials would not discuss details of contract talks with its unions.

The firefighters agreed in June to give up cost-of-living and merit raises to save the jobs of 16 firefighters. In exchange, the city agreed not to lay off any union firefighters during the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

This time around, the firefighters were asking for guarantees against layoffs the following fiscal year, Hurley said.

A new North Las Vegas bargaining unit also was made official this week. The City Council on Wednesday voted to recognize the North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association as the "exclusive bargaining unit" for the city's officers who hold the rank of sergeant or lieutenant. The union is separate from the city's Police Officers Association.

Sgt. Leonard Cardinale, a representative of the new unit, declined to comment until after a meeting of the group scheduled for today.

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at or 702-383-0285.