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Nevada Businesses And Unions In Rare Agreement Behind Republican Plans

It’s not often that businesses and unions agree on an issue, especially when it’s Republican-led reforms on collective bargaining. But in Nevada Monday, that is exactly what happened.

“Obviously we’re looking to invest a lot more money in education this session,” Republican Sen. Michael Roberson testified during a state hearing according to The Associated Press. “I believe there needs to be accountability tied to that money.”

Roberson is leading the charge to reform collective bargaining in the state, prompted by Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposal to increase education funding. His bill, SB241, is designed to reform collective bargaining in the state so that there is more accountability when the budget increases, especially among teachers and school administrators. Both unions and businesses rallied behind the proposal during the hearing.

Unions don’t often agree with Republicans on labor reform issues, especially something as important to them as collective bargaining. Collective bargaining laws draw a lot of attention from unions because they dictate negotiations between an employer and employees to determine conditions of employment. During bargaining employees are often represented by a union.

“We think it’s high time that the same level of accountability be applied to principals,” John Vellardita, executive director for the Clark County Education Association, said according to The Associated Press. Vellardita noted the bill was the product of compromise.

The bill itself is designed to do several things that directly impact collective bargaining in the state. It reduces the amount of time a labor complaint hearing is held, defines when labor agreements expires and it revises various provisions on how schools and unions negotiate.

The most important thing the bill does though is create ways which allow the state to hold certain public employees, particularly within education, accountable for their actions. It will require school administrators in unions, except for principals, to re-apply for their jobs every five years. Additionally it makes it easier to remove school principals during their first three years of employment.

The bill will also forbid employees within the school system who make over $120,000 from becoming part of a collective bargaining agreement.

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