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Complaint over ‘excessive discipline’ of people of color marks start to SEIU-Clark contract talks

(Credit:Ronda Churchill/Nevada Current)

Michael Lyle, Nevada Current
February 23, 2024

As SEIU Local 1107 begins contract negotiations this week for its 7,000 county employees, the union has said Clark County has withheld “vital documents” to aid in bargaining, including information on the number of people of color who have been disciplined. 

President Michelle Maese, the president of the union, asked the county on Oct. 13 for the number of full time employees and vacancies, a breakdown of union members who received discipline by race and ethnicity as well as documents pertaining to financial information such as cost of living increases. 

They haven’t received any of the requested information. 

“It’s time for Clark County to start listening to its workforce, address its staffing shortfalls and take action to ensure that we can deliver the quality public services that our community needs,” Maese said.

Maese told county commissioners the union would file a complaint with the Employee Management Relations Board, but as of Thursday nothing had been filed. 

Jennifer Cooper, a spokeswoman with Clark County, declined to comment, saying “we are in active negotiations.” 

SEIU, which represents 20,000 public sectors and health care workers in Nevada including county workers, held its first bargaining session with Clark County on Tuesday. 

Ahead of the session, several members of the union, including Maese, told Clark County Commissioners during its Tuesday meeting that the county had failed to provide any requested information or acknowledge months-long requests. 

Among the many issues union officials cited included “a pattern in Clark County where people of color have faced excessive discipline relative to their peers.”

Union members said they were looking into at least seven cases where workers of color were wrongfully terminated or received excessive discipline in comparison to nonunion peers. 

“We need a fair process for everyone – not a system that punishes people of color more severely than others,” Maese said.

Union representatives wouldn’t say what wage increases are being sought in bargaining, adding that the union needs to see financial data asked for in October to better determine those numbers. 

SEIU is hoping to address staffing shortages and employment recruitment and retention. 

Those who spoke on Tuesday said recent events, including the Super Bowl and Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, were successful because of union workers. 

Sara Evans, an employee with the Clark County Department of Family Services, added those same workers helped the county make it through the pandemic. 

“When our community needed us most, we stepped up,” Evans said. “Now, it’s management’s turn to step up. We didn’t need a parade then, and we don’t need one now, but we do need real fixes to the problems this community faces.” 

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: info@nevadacurrent.com. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Nevada Current under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.