North Las Vegas City Manager Timothy Hacker warned Monday of massive layoffs after the city’s public safety employee unions “walked away from reasonable negotiations.”
In a news release, Hacker accused union leaders of “serving their own self interest first and their community second,” adding, “We put forward a very fair plan that would save the city money and avoid layoffs and maintain service levels.”
But shortly after a news conference Hacker called to discuss potential fallout of failed negotiations, leaders from all three police and firefighter unions said they hadn’t rejected anything.
The labor leaders expressed puzzlement that Hacker would risk further strain to union-city relations while unions are still considering proposals to continue existing pay and benefit concessions.
The blowup comes weeks before the city’s June 1 deadline to submit a budget plan to the state, leaving city leaders little time to cover what they say is a
$33 million shortfall.
“We have never shot down a tentative agreement,” said Jeff Hurley, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1607. “I don’t know why he just blew a gasket and sent out this press release and had that press conference. It is a little silly.”
Hacker didn’t specify how many people could be laid off.
Further, he didn’t voice any criticism for Teamsters Local 14, which represents about 500 city workers, though its members recently voted down proposed concessions worth $12.3 million over two years.
Hacker did not return a phone call to answer why the Teamsters were left out.
Hurley said firefighters accepted the proposal to extend concessions worth $5.8 million over two years. As a condition, however, the firefighters want the city to consolidate the department with any other municipality, such as the city of Las Vegas.
“We agreed to their agreement. The only condition we put in there was to consolidate,” he said.
In a news release, Hurley said firefighters “no longer have faith in city management” after city officials said 57 firefighters could lose their jobs without concessions, though the concessions requested are worth far less than pay and benefits for that many firefighters.
Leaders of the city’s two law enforcement unions echoed Hurley’s response to Hacker’s statements.
“A lot of the things Mr. Hacker mentions in that press release didn’t happen. We never rejected anything,” said Mike Yarter, president of the North Las Vegas Police Officers Association, which has about 330 members. “There was no vote on our end. We never even got that far.”
Leonard Cardinale, president of the North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association, which represents about 60 workers, called Hacker’s move “classic union busting.”
Cardinale said his union had another meeting scheduled with city management and had been seeking more concrete financial data before making a decision.
Like the others, he bristled at Hacker’s statements about police and firefighters.
“When you threaten people’s jobs in order to get their money, I would call that bullying,” Cardinale said.
Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@