'A Bold and Historic Step'
Editor’s note: Below are remarks, as prepared for delivery, by AFSCME President Lee Saunders on June 12 in Nevada, when Gov. Steve Sisolak signed into law Senate Bill 135, which gives collective bargaining rights to 20,000 state workers for the first time ever in the Silver State’s history:
“Good afternoon. The men and women who work for the state of Nevada are everyday heroes, who have dedicated their careers to making their communities safe and strong. They do their jobs with pride and professionalism, with courage and conviction. They never quit.
For everything they do, they deserve a voice on the job. They deserve the freedom to negotiate for a fair return on their work, for decent wages, for working conditions that will keep them safe on the job. It’s been a long time coming, but state employees finally have a seat at the table.
Today’s signing of SB 135 is a bold and historic step, the largest expansion of state employee collective bargaining rights – in any state – since 2003.
I want to thank Governor Sisolak and the legislature for their leadership. I want to acknowledge the AFSCME members here in this room – and so many others who can’t be in this room – who led a surge of grassroots activism that made this moment possible.
This is a huge victory. It will empower state employees, giving them the dignity and respect they deserve. And it will improve the lives of more than 3 million people – every man, woman and child across this state – who depend on first-class public services every day.”