On Friday, April 20, the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents voted to authorize a vote of the Western Nevada College faculty to decide whether it would like to be represented by the Nevada Faculty Alliance for a collective bargaining agreement with WNC.
The WNC academic faculty participated in a card drive, in which cards returned from 84 percent of the eligible faculty expressed the desire for an official vote for collective bargaining. This level of interest was not lost on the regents, whose own handbook (and federal law) requires only 30 percent of the faculty at an institution to sign cards for a vote to be held.
According to Jim Strange, president of the WNC chapter of NFA, the only discussion concerned whether the regents' approval could be made by the board at a special meeting. Regent Ron Knect observed that when the rule was initially established that such action could only occur at a regular meeting, the board of regents met monthly. In an effort to meet the will and interests of the WNC academic faculty, the regents voted swiftly and unanimously to allow the vote to occur prior to the end of the academic year.
WNC faculty leaders have been communicating to faculty and answering their questions about the process and impact of selecting to be represented through a collective bargaining agreement. They will conduct an open forum Friday, April 27, from noon to 2 p.m. in Marlett Hall in Carson City, and VRGH 308 in Fallon.
A collective bargaining agreement for faculty, under state law and NSHE code, cannot address compensation or benefits but could address campus governance issues, including workload policy.
The vote will be held between May 5 and May 20, 2012.