CCEA seeks more than 102K signatures from registered Nevada voters to put the petition on the ballot
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – It’s against the law for Nevada teachers to strike, and they could face thousands of dollars in fines if they do, but the Clark County Education Association is launching another effort to overturn a 55-year-old state law.
Representatives with the Clark County Education Association (CCEA) also known as the teacher’s union stated at a news conference on Thursday that it met with 49 lawmakers, lobbying them to overturn the law that bans teachers from striking.
The event was held at North Las Vegas City Hall, near the Nevada Secretary of State’s office, where CCEA announced a petition initiative, which is fueled by the recent “prolonged and unnecessary” arbitration during each of the last four contract negotiations.
The last negotiation process extended over seven months, leaving teachers without a contract for half of the school year.
However, there are concerns about what giving educators the ability to strike means.
“There’s definitely a pathway to alienate public support by the union if they continue to engage in these striking activities,” Geoffery Lawrence, director of research at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, said.
NPRI is a conservative-leaning group.
Lawrence said the original 1969 law was put in place to force Nevada to recognize unions.
Yet, the law has strengthened over the years, and giving teachers the ability can cause disruptions.
“The ability of arbitration is supposed to make striking irrelevant. In other words, there’s no reason for a union to exert leverage over the school district because they have a mechanism that they just used by the way to get exactly the contract they wanted,” Lawrence said.
Hours before Thursday’s news conference, the CCEA put together a video regarding its effort.
“We are handcuffed by a law that was passed in 1969 and our educators want the ability to strike,” CCEA President Marie Neisess said in the video.
CCEA needs a little more than 102,000 signatures from registered Nevada voters to put the petition on the ballot. A quarter of the signatures must be from each one of the state’s four congressional districts.
“If you want to be able to make sure that your kid has a qualified educator in the classroom, you got to give us the power to make sure that happens,” John Vellardita, the executive director of CCEA said.
CCEA cited a poll that we couldn’t independently verify claiming 70% of voters support teachers striking. They will start collecting signatures in four weeks.
In response to the news conference, Clark County School District Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara issued a statement on Thursday that reads in part:
“CCEA missed an opportunity to equitably compensate our veteran teachers with the lookback we proposed. For the sake of the community, CCEA’s time, energy, and member dues can best be deployed on behalf of our educators, who show up daily for students.
The law they seek to overturn exists to prevent community chaos and its adverse impacts on our economies and families. We need more transparency, not chaos, in public sector negotiations. Transparent public sector negotiations would benefit our teachers, students, and taxpayers rather than attempts to sow more discord.” – CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara