August 8, 2023

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Welcome to the Dispatch

As the 2023-24 academic year gets underway, we'd like to welcome you to the first edition of the NFA Quarterly Dispatch, a newsletter intended to keep Nevada Faculty Alliance members and their colleagues informed of issues affecting their workplace wellbeing and the alliance's activities. As the name implies, we hope to publish the Dispatch at least once every three months, but may distribute it more frequently as necessary based on conditions on the ground.

We hope you find the information timely and helpful, and will share it widely with your workplace colleagues. Please feel free to reach out to any NFA officer, whether it is a member of the State Board or your campus chapter, with questions or recommendations. 

Options remain for Collective Bargaining Bill despite Governor's veto

Kent Ervin addressing legislature

Kent Ervin at 2023 legislative
hearing for AB224

Although Governor Joe Lombardo vetoed AB224, the Collective Bargaining for NSHE Professional Employees bill, NFA leaders are evaluating a number of different scenarios that may ultimately lead to the bill's enactment.

Kent Ervin, the immediate Past President of NFA and chief lobbyist for the Alliance, outlines the possibilities which include a veto override when the 2025 Nevada Legislature convenes, or introduce a new version of the bill in the next legislative session. Read More Here >>

NFA-led public comment campaign secures full 12% COLA for FY24

Dozens of NSHE professionals responded to calls from the Nevada Faculty Alliance and encouraged the Board of Regents to approve full cost of living adjustments for 2023-24.

Nearly 30 individuals made public comments at the June 30 BOR meeting, while more than 50 submitted written statements. Organized by NFA Vice President Shantal Marshall, the campaign was ultimately successful with Regents voting to approve the COLA, matching adjustments approved for other state employees.

Shantal Marshall at podium

NFA Vice President Shantal
Marshall at BOR meeting

In the coming months, the BOR must consider adjustments for 2024-25. The Legislature approved COLA up to 11% for NSHE professionals in FY25. UNLV Chapter President and Government Affairs Committee Chair Doug Unger provides an excellent analysis in his August UpdateRead It Here>>

NFA delegates to attend Nevada AFL-CIO convention

With our new affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers, NFA collective bargaining chapters have been invited to send delegates to the State AFL-CIO convention in Reno this month. Ted Chodock and Scott Huber will represent the CSN and TMCC chapters, while Jim New, Kent Ervin, and Doug Unger will participate as NFA State Board officers. 

Partnerships with organized labor have proven invaluable, especially in the 2023 Nevada Legislature. Their advocacy bolstered NFA's position on such important issues as COLA increases and collective bargaining rights. They will provide critical resources and support as we turn our attention to the 2024 elections.

Please feel free to reach out to any of the NFA attendees if you have or suggestions or questions about union benefits and representation.

Members invited to join NFA at Reno LaborFest

The Nevada Faculty Alliance will be among the booth sponsors at the 2nd Annual Reno LaborFest on Labor Day. Billed as the Northern Nevada labor movement’s largest event of the year, the LaborFest features live music, food trucks, a beer garden, and a kids’ fun zone.

Representatives from multiple unions, including NFA, will staff booths and share information with participants about the benefits of union membership. Proceeds from the event will go to the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council’s Worker Benefit Corp., a non-profit organization that provides apprenticeship, member, and community assistance.

We invite all NFA members, especially those in northern Nevada to join us for LaborFest from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on September 4, 2023, in Reno’s Idlewild Park.

Employee benefits continue to be a top priority

While much of our attention has been appropriately focused on the cost of living adjustments, which are the most substantial ever for NSHE professionals, there is also progress to report regarding employee benefits. Several labor organizations representing state employees, including NFA, actively lobbied the Nevada Public Employees Benefits Program (PEBP) to restore benefits that were reduced or eliminated in periods of economic uncertainty such as the Great Recession and the Pandemic. These efforts have resulted in increases in dental benefits and basic life insurance, and decreases in some deductibles. 

UNLV-NFA Chapter President Doug Unger also addressed the PEBP Board of Directors at their July 27 meeting with concerns about UMR’s customer service and the elimination of a major service provider in the Las Vegas area from their list of in-network providers. Unger’s efforts have led the PEPB Board to schedule a meeting with him and members of the UNLV Employee Benefits Advisory Committee to explore options for improved service, such as a patient advocate to help resolve claims issues.

Unfortunately, not all pandemic-related benefit cuts have been restored, despite the availability of funding. For example, employees on an HMO/EPO plan still pay coinsurance and deductibles, which are not in traditional HMO plans.

More critically, the long-term disability benefits that were eliminated as part of the pandemic-related budget reductions have not been restored. As a result, many NSHE employees are only one accident away from economic disaster if an injury or illness prevents them from working. Only employees who purchase their own disability insurance, which is prohibitively expensive, or those who have an adequate number of qualifying work credits in Social Security with a previous employer are protected. Restoration of this critical benefit continues to be a top priority for the Nevada Faculty Alliance and our officers will persistently fight for it at all levels of government.

2023-25 NFA State Officers

Jim New - President

Shantal Marshall - Vice President

Joey Ray - Secretary

Cheryl Cardoza - Treasurer

Kent Ervin - Past President

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