Nevada Lawmakers May Follow Wisconsin's Poor Lead

Is the GOP majority in Nevada's legislature following Wisconsin's lead in trying to dismantle public sector unions?  Legislation that got its first hearing on March 25 shows the answer may well be 'yes.'

And even before hearings opened, unionists and their allies mobilized against them, as thousands of people descended on the state capital of Carson City earlier this year for a rally against the measure. They call it "union Armageddon."

GOP State Rep. Randy Kirner would prevent unions from automatically deducting fees from members’ paychecks, ban collective-bargaining agreements from halting layoffs during budgetary crises and stop paid leave for union members to help bargain with employers. His bill also eliminates "evergreen clauses" to keep a contract's main provisions in force until a new one is ratified.  Killing the evergreens would let the employers intentionally drag out talks.

Kirner justifies his measure on budget grounds, saying it would cut spending. Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., used the same excuse in jamming anti-union measures through his GOP-run legislature in 2011, depriving 200,000 state and local workers of collective bargaining rights.

GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval called for state labor law “reform” and signed legislation eliminating prevailing wage rules on state and local construction, but “he hasn’t come out for this in a Scott Walker anti-union kind of way,” says Unite Here Local 226 political director Yvanna Cancela.  Her union is Nevada's largest. Sandoval would have a hard time justifying – to his own party -- opposing Kirner's bill, she told an international business paper.  ###