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Las Vegas union debates return to local control

Service Employees International Union leaders met behind closed doors Thursday night on the Las Vegas Strip to determine whether to return local control of their Nevada chapter.

About 25 members of SEIU Local 1107 attended the nearly five-hour closed meeting at the New York-New York hotel-casino, union member Brenda Marzan said.

Local 1107 has been run by the international since an emergency trusteeship was declared in late April.

Marzan, vice president of the union’s non-supervisory bargaining unit at Clark County, said she was one of three witnesses who testified at Thursday’s hearing. She later told the Review-Journal she believes the union is not ready to return to local control.

“Our constitution and bylaws need to be rewritten and corrected,” she said. “We also don’t have an organizing plan today, and we need that to move the local forward.”

Thursday’s meeting was “to address whether circumstances existed at the time to justify the imposition of the emergency trusteeship as well as the question of whether the trusteeship should continue,” SEIU spokeswoman Sara Lonardo said in a statement to the Review-Journal.

Lonardo declined to provide further details about the hearing, including when a decision would be made and whether anyone opposing the trusteeship spoke. Former local president Cherie Mancini was seen exiting the meeting.

The international union ousted Mancini and former executive vice president Sharon Kisling from their elected offices and union membership following months of infighting. The local chapter was immediately placed into an emergency trusteeship after a vote by its former executive board.

SEIU Local 1107 local union represents approximately 18,000 workers in Nevada. About half are government employees and half are private-sector health care workers.

Internal union documents show SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry ordered the takeover because infighting among the local’s executive board had interfered with the union’s ability to bargain contracts and serve its members.

“SEIU remains committed to protecting the best interests of 1107 members, who play critical roles keeping people healthy and serving the public,” Lonardo wrote in her statement.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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