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Collective bargaining for state workers

The March 3 opinion piece by Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute included inaccurate claims about Senate Bill 135, which would give state employees the right to collective bargaining. As a state employee, I can tell you that Mr. Biggs’ figures about our compensation are flat-out wrong.

This bill does not make collective bargaining mandatory, but gives state employees the right to come together as a union to advocate for improvements to our jobs and services we provide.

Only if a majority of us agree to form a union will the right to collective bargaining be triggered.

As the folks on the front lines, state employees have ideas to improve state services to keep our communities safe and strong. We also want to address issues in our workplaces that often go unresolved. As a corrections officer, I have seen firsthand dangerously low staffing levels that put our safety at risk.

Mr. Biggs‘ claim about turnover rates are also wrong. Turnover is high, particularly where I work at the Department of Corrections due to unsafe working conditions and low wages. The pension that Mr. Biggs says is so generous requires taking 20 percent out of my pay from each paycheck. That’s the highest in all 50 states.

State employees are proud of the work we do, and we deserve the same rights as every other American. By demanding a voice on the job, we are standing up for ourselves and for a better Nevada.

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