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Teachers union operated without a business license for almost 2 years

The Clark County Education Association operated without an active business license for more than 20 months until a certificate of reinstatement was issued last week.

The teachers union went into default in September 2021 after not renewing its license, which was later revoked, according to records from the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office. It was reinstated May 17.

The nation’s fifth-largest school district filed a complaint against the union May 17 with the state’s Government Employee-Management Relations Board over the licensing issue.

Contract negotiations between the Clark County School District and the union this year haven’t begun, said Tod Story, chief communications officer for the district. The current contract agreement runs until June 30.

“As a government agency entrusted with public dollars, we must ensure that those we negotiate with are accountable and legally operating according to the laws of Nevada and the federal government,” Story wrote in a Wednesday statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The district sent a letter to CCEA on May 11 outlining its concerns regarding the union’s legal status, and requesting information such as state and federal filings.

“The documents we requested from CCEA are public and must be provided if they are to negotiate on behalf of our employees credibly and responsibly,” Story wrote.

CCEA, which represents more than 18,000 licensed employees, alleges the district is retaliating after the union recently released poll and survey results showing the majority of respondents have no confidence in Superintendent Jesus Jara.

Last week, CCEA’s representative council also unanimously approved a resolution calling for Jara to resign.

The union said in a Wednesday statement to the Review-Journal that it is licensed to do business in Nevada and has been the exclusive bargaining agent for more than 60 years.

“CCSD knows this and is obligated under law to negotiate with CCEA,” the union wrote. “In fact, CCEA and CCSD have started negotiations with additional dates scheduled for after the Nevada Legislature passes the education budget.”

State complaint

In January, CCEA Executive Director John Vellardita sent a letter to the district saying the union intends to bargain a successor to its collective bargaining agreement, according to the complaint filed with the state.

But the district became aware around April 20 that the union’s legal status may be in question, the complaint says.

The district asked the union to provide information by May 16, but didn’t receive a response by deadline.

The district is asking the Government Employee-Management Relations Board to order the union to produce requested information and to issue a finding that the union has “engaged in one or more prohibited labor practices,” according to the complaint.

The union responded to the district on May 18 — the day after the complaint was filed with the state.

In the letter obtained by the Review-Journal, the union’s attorney Steve Sorensen said the correspondence was a response to the district’s “illegitimate information request.”

The request is “an attempt to derail the bargaining process and retaliation for CCEA reporting the results of our survey on Superintendent Jara,” Sorensen wrote.

Under state law, requests for information are limited to mandatory topics for bargaining and none of the information the district requested falls into that category, according to the letter.

CCSD files name reservation

State records show the district filed a form claiming the name “Clark County Education Association” on April 20 with the Nevada Secretary of State. The union later had its license reinstated under the name “CCEA.”

The district informed the union of the filing in a May 11 letter, which the Review-Journal obtained through a public records request.

In a May 15 email to the district, a union attorney asked the district to release the name to him.

In a response the same day, David Hall — the district’s chief negotiator and assistant general counsel — wrote: “As we have only reserved the name rights to protect the teachers at CCSD we will gladly provide a release. This was our intent from the beginning; we didn’t want another entity to step in and take advantage of CCEA’s revoked status.”

In its statement Wednesday, the union alleges the district filed the name reservation under “fraudulent reasons.”

“We are confident that the Secretary of State’s office enforces filing for fraudulent reasons, and CCEA is taking the appropriate legal actions,” the union wrote. “However, it is no coincidence that CCSD is engaged in this behavior.”

The union has been “very public” about the no confidence results in Jara, it said.

“There will be a new contract negotiated between CCEA and CCSD,” the union said. “Whether Jara is the superintendent at that time is a question that should be asked.”

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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