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Coronavirus pandemic upends Teamsters contract with North Las Vegas

North Las Vegas is going back to the bargaining table with the Teamsters union after the coronavirus pandemic upended a tentative agreement with the labor group.

The City Council voted 4-1 Wednesday to deny three contracts with Teamsters Local 14, which represents employees in nearly every city department. Ward 1 Councilman Isaac Barron was the lone member to support approving the contracts.

A Teamsters representative did not return a reporter’s phone call Thursday.

The tentative agreement with the union was the result of negotiations that stretched from July to March, Assistant City Manager Alfredo Melesio Jr. told council members. The contracts, however, needed council approval to be finalized.

“In the past three weeks things are much different than they were between July and March,” Melesio told council members. “We weren’t talking about local, state or national emergency declarations at the time. We also weren’t talking about a complete shutdown of the resort and tourism industry and the effects that would have on our future.”

Melesio said the city and the union tentatively agreed last year to a one-year contract extension with a 2 percent cost of living adjustment, increased contribution to medical plans and a lump sum payment for those covered by the contracts. The Teamsters membership voted against it, he said.

The three contracts, which cover supervisors, non-supervisors and administrative staff, share essentially the same terms, spokesman Patrick Walker said.

The tentative agreement before the City Council Wednesday included four-year contracts with a 2 percent cost of living adjustment that was retroactive to last July, a 2.25 percent cost of living increase for the upcoming fiscal year, increases to life insurance and health insurance, and increased pay for bilingual employees, among other things.

All told, the agreements as written were worth $12.9 million.

North Las Vegas Finance Director William Harty told the council that some of the retroactive benefits would cost the city an estimated $1.5 million in the current fiscal year.

Before the outbreak, the city’s expected revenue growth would have allowed for the pay increases in the contract, but now North Las Vegas faces financial uncertainty, he said.

“While we have not been able to quantify the full financial impact of the current pandemic for the city, it is safe to say that the risk of a structural deficit has greatly increased, potentially as early as 2021,” Harty said.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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