AFSCME Local 4041 Takes Legal Action Against Governor Joe Lombardo for Violations to State Employee Collective Bargaining Rights

Members of AFSCME Local 4041 filed two legal actions on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, against Governor Joe Lombardo for violating state employee collective bargaining rights, enshrined in state law as NRS 288.  

“Collective bargaining rights give workers a voice on the job, regardless of who is elected Governor. Our arbitration win is final and binding – and is a contract the state entered, approved, and is obliged to honor. In filing these actions, we are protecting our right as workers to negotiate a binding contract. We continue to demand that Governor Lombardo honor our collective bargaining rights and agreements made by the state of Nevada,” said Heike Rüdenauer-Plumber, AFSCME Local 4041 member and a Development Specialist III with the state.  

In a November 2021 arbitration under their 2021 collective bargaining agreement (CBA), AFSCME members won a 3 percent cost of living (COLA) increase for frontline workers in AFSCME represented bargaining units retroactive to July 1, 2021. The arbitration award was then voted on and approved by the State Board of Examiners in March 2022. During the 2023 legislative session, the COLA back pay was funded in Senate Bill 440, which was passed by both chambers. However, Governor Lombardo vetoed the legislation, denying thousands of state workers' wages they had already earned as a matter of right through their final and binding arbitration award. AFSCME members are seeking the immediate disbursement of retroactive pay to workers covered under AFSCME’s arbitration.  

The union has also filed a second action against Governor Lombardo for acting in bad faith by voting against the 2023 AFSCME Collective Bargaining Agreement at the Board of Examiners meeting on May 17, 2023. As the exclusive representative for workers in three bargaining units, AFSCME negotiates with the executive branch of the state. In voting against the CBA that his own administration had already signed with AFSCME, Governor Lombardo violated the good faith bargaining obligations in NRS 288. 

“We go into contract negotiations with the expectation that the state is operating under ‘good faith’ in what they are offering. When the governor voted against a contract his own agency negotiated, it was a violation of our collective bargaining rights and workers’ ability to have a say on our working conditions,” said Lisa Dehart, AFSCME Local 4041 member and a Social Worker III with the state.