SEIU Local 1107

County Workers Rally Outside the Government Center for a Fix to the Staffing Crisis to Protect Public Services

6/21/2024

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Clark County
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While the Clark County Commission Considers an $80 Million Settlement…

Clark County has a staffing crisis with nearly 20% of all county jobs unfilled, and it’s affecting public services. Instead of making the problem better, though, the county is on the precipice of making it even worse.

On Tuesday, June 18, the county workers who protect children from abuse and neglect, keep our families safe, and run the economic engine of our town – our airport - rallied outside of the Clark County Government Center while county commissioners consider a pending $80 million lawsuit settlement that could further harm public services.

“We’re just hanging on by a thread here, and I’m worried that county management may be getting ready to snap it,” said Fabiola Pavel, a senior custodian and SEIU 1107 member. “If Clark County is going to move forward with this settlement, then the funds to do so need to come from its reserve fund – not from workers and our communities.”

SEIU 1107 Executive Director Sam Shaw said Tuesday’s vote would also go a long way to determining the outcome of the workers’ current contract negotiations with the county.

“Let’s be clear. This vote represents a fork in the road,” Shaw said. “Meaningful fixes to the county’s staffing crisis and real cost of living increases for workers is at stake.”

In a statement issued the previous week, the county claimed money for the settlement would not affect operations or services, but the reality is that any money that comes from the general fund would come on the backs of workers and harm public services.

Funds often referred to as ‘capital improvement funds’ are simply funds the county has accrued as a result of management failing to hire budgeted county positions over the past year – a decision that is already hurting public services. With the county only operating at 80% of its capacity, those resources are desperately needed to address the county’s staffing crisis instead.

”County management has claimed the $80 million settlement won’t affect operations or undercut public services. Our focus is holding them accountable to their word, and the only way to do that is for this settlement to come out of the county’s reserve fund,” Shaw said. “Anything else would be outrageous, and it needs to be stopped.”

Yaritza Trevino, a family services specialist in the Department of Family Services said this issue is critical to both county workers and the public.

“We’re tired of county workers and public services being at the end of the line when it comes to county priorities,” Trevino said. “It breaks my heart when we can’t check in as regularly on a child as we should. We just don’t have the staff to do it, and that needs to change.”

SEIU 1107 President Michelle Maese emphasized that the county has a responsibility to fix the problems that are driving its staffing shortfalls.

“Clark County created this problem, and now it’s up to them to fix it,” she said. “We’re only in this mess because the county refused to treat its workforce with dignity and respect and pay them competitive wages that actually keep up with the cost of living.”

At the negotiations table this spring, the county hasn’t offered workers enough to even keep up with recent increases in the cost of living and hasn’t put forward any serious plans to address its staffing shortfalls. The two sides remain far apart.