FAQs: Collective Bargaining for Nevada State Employees (SB135)


These FAQs will be updated with additional information as the state continues to implement the new law. These FAQs are not intended as legal advice. If you have questions regarding this information, please refer to Senate Bill 135, Nevada Revised Statutes, Nevada Administrative Code, or contact your legal counsel.

    FOR EMPLOYEES, EMPLOYER AGENCIES, AND LABOR ORGANIZATIONS

      Do Nevada state employees now have collective bargaining?

      The 2019 Nevada legislature passed Senate Bill 135, which authorizes collective bargaining for certain state employees, and Governor Sisolak signed the bill into law on June 12. The Government Employee-Management Relations Board (EMRB) and the Department of Administration (which houses the Division of Human Resource Management, or DHRM) are working to implement the provisions of the new law.

        What is collective bargaining?

        Collective bargaining is a method of determining conditions of employment by negotiations between representatives of the employer (the employer in this case is the Executive Department of the state) and representatives of employees (in this case, labor organizations would represent employees). This includes topics like wages and hours and how to resolve questions that arise under a negotiated agreement.

          Which employees does collective bargaining apply to?

          Collective bargaining applies to:

          • Those employed in the classified service of the state
          • Those employed by the Nevada System of Higher Education in the classified service
          • Those employed by the Nevada System of Higher Education who are required to be paid in accordance with the same pay plan as those in the classified service of the state

            Will employees be required to join a labor organization and/or engage in collective bargaining?

            No. Employees have the right to:

            • Organize, form, join and assist labor organizations, engage in collective bargaining and supplemental bargaining through exclusive representatives and engage in other concerted activities, AND
            • Refrain from engaging in such activity

              What is the timeline for implementing collective bargaining?

              The state is working on implementation right now, and it is anticipated that collective bargaining agreements could be in place in time for the 2021 legislative session.

              How will organizing work?

              The Government Employee-Management Relations Board will establish one or more bargaining units for each of the following occupational groups:

              • Labor, maintenance, custodial and institutional employees, including, without limitation, employees of penal and correctional institutions who are not responsible for security at those institutions
              • Administrative and clerical employees, including, without limitation, legal support staff and employees whose work involves general office work, or keeping or examining records and accounts
              • Technical aides to professional employees, including, without limitation, computer programmers, tax examiners, conservation employees and regulatory inspectors
              • Professional employees who do not provide health care, including, without limitation, engineers, scientists and accountants
              • Professional employees who provide health care, including, without limitation, physical therapists and other employees in medical and other professions related to health
              • Employees, other than professional employees, who provide health care and personal care, including, without limitation, employees who provide care for children
              • Category I peace officers
              • Category II peace officers
              • Category III peace officers
              • Supervisory employees from all occupational groups
              • Firefighters

              Once those bargaining units are established, labor organizations can initiate the process to become the exclusive representative for a bargaining unit. Interested employees within the units can vote to make a labor organization their exclusive representative. Once a bargaining unit has exclusive representation, they can begin negotiating collective bargaining agreements.  

                What is exclusive representation?

                “Exclusive representative” means a labor organization that, as a result of its designation by the Board, has the exclusive right to represent all the employees within a bargaining unit and to engage in collective bargaining with the Executive Department concerning wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment for those employees.

                  How does a labor organization become the exclusive representative for one or more bargaining units?

                  If a labor organization receives a majority of the votes cast at the initial election or at any runoff election, the Board shall designate the labor organization as the exclusive representative of the bargaining unit.

                  If no labor organization is  designated  as  the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit and a labor organization files with the Board a list of its membership or other evidence showing that the labor organization has been authorized to serve as a representative by more than 50 percent of the employees within the bargaining unit, the Board shall designate the labor organization as the exclusive representative of the bargaining unit without ordering an election.

                  If no labor organization is designated as the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit, the Board shall order an election to be conducted within the bargaining unit if:

                  A labor organization can file with the Board a written request for an election which includes a list of its membership or other evidence showing that it has been authorized to serve as a representative by at least 30 percent but not more than 50 percent of the employees within the bargaining unit.

                    Where can union participation or election literature be passed out?

                    Labor organizations may pass out literature in any designated state work locations including break rooms, lobby, parking lot, conference rooms, etc.

                    State employees may pass out labor organization literature at the workplace, as long as it does not cause a disruption to the workplace. 

                      Can employees display labor organization materials on their clothing while in the workplace?

                      State employees may wear buttons/pins promoting association membership on their clothing, including uniforms, as long as it is in compliance with his or her department's dress code, does not present a safety hazard, and is not disruptive to the workplace.

                        Can employees promote or discuss organizing or related issues during work hours?

                        During duty hours, employees should remain focused on their work. NAC 284.766 states: Each employee shall, during his or her hours of duty as an employee and subject to such other laws or regulations as pertain thereto, devote his or her full time, attention and efforts to state employment. Employees may use break time or lunch periods to discuss or engage in issues related to organizing and collective bargaining.

                          Which issues may be collectively bargained?

                          Senate Bill 135 outlines what may be collectively bargained, including:

                          • A process to resolve employee grievances relating to employment
                          • Salary or wage rates or other forms of direct monetary compensation
                          • Sick leave
                          • Vacation leave
                          • Holidays
                          • Other paid or nonpaid leaves of absence
                          • Total hours of work required of an employee on each workday or workweek
                          • Total number of days’ work required of an employee in a work year
                          • Discharge and disciplinary procedures
                          • The method used to classify employees in bargaining units
                          • Deduction of dues for the recognized labor organization
                          • Protection of employees in the bargaining unit from discrimination because of participation in recognized employee organizations
                          • Grievance and arbitration procedures for resolution of disputes relating to interpretation or application of collective bargaining agreements
                          • Duration of collective bargaining agreements
                          • Safety of the employee
                          • Procedures for reduction in workforce
                          • Procedures for the reopening of collective bargaining agreements for additional, further, new or supplementary negotiations during periods of fiscal emergency

                            Which issues may not be collectively bargained?

                            Senate Bill 135 outlines what may not be collectively bargained, including:

                            • The right to hire, direct, assign or transfer an employee, but excluding the right to assign or transfer an employee as a form of discipline
                            • The right to reduce in force or lay off any employee because of lack of work or lack of money
                            • The right to determine appropriate staffing levels and work performance standards, except for safety considerations
                            • The right to determine the content of the workday, including without limitation workload factors, except for safety considerations
                            • The right to determine the quality and quantity of services to be offered to the public
                            • The right to determine the means and methods of offering those services
                            • Safety of the public

                              Since some of the bargaining units will include staff from various agencies, will agency-specific business needs be addressed?

                              Senate Bill 135 provides for “supplemental bargaining” (Sec. 42), which would address terms and conditions of employment that uniquely affect fewer than all the employees within a bargaining unit.

                                FOR AGENCY EMPLOYERS

                                  Will there be a cost?

                                  The Government Employee-Management Relations Board is required by the new law to charge and collect a fee from the Executive Department in an amount not to exceed $10 for each employee of the Executive Department who was employed by the Executive Department during the first pay period of the immediately preceding fiscal year.The money received from the fees may be used only to carry out the duties of the Board.

                                    What principles should management representatives (e.g., supervisors, managers, human resources) follow when communicating about collective bargaining with employees?

                                    As appropriate, employees can be provided with known, objective facts. However, it would be inappropriate for management representatives (e.g., supervisor, managers, human resources) to make statements that could be interpreted as trying to influence an employee regarding labor organizations.

                                      FOR LABOR ORGANIZATIONS

                                        Where can I find information on the state employees who now have collective bargaining rights?

                                        The Department of Administration is working to build a roster of eligible state employees with name, address, job classification, and work location to make available to labor organizations interested in becoming an exclusive representative for one or more bargaining units. Once available, the roster will be updated monthly to reflect staffing changes. 

                                        To be placed on an email distribution list to receive the initial roster and monthly updates, please send the name of your labor organization, first and last name of a designated contact, and the email address at which you would like to receive the roster to: deptadmin@admin.nv.gov