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Union, business groups back collective-bargaining changes

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Union lobbyists and business representatives made for strange bedfellows on Monday while testifying on a Republican-sponsored bill overhauling collective bargaining law.

Republican Sen. Michael Roberson sponsored SB241 and presented the measure to the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee during a hearing Monday.

The measure would make a number of changes to the collective-bargaining process between governments and employees, such as excluding school administrators who make more than $120,000 a year from joining an employee union.

It would require school administrators in unions who aren't principals to re-apply for their jobs every five years, and make it easier to remove school principals during their first three years of employment.

Roberson said the measure was intended to create additional levels of oversight for public employee unions, especially with Gov. Brian Sandoval's proposed increase in education funding.

"Obviously we're looking to invest a lot more money in education this session," he said during the hearing. "I believe there needs to be accountability tied to that money."

Although many organized-labor groups have protested and groused throughout the session over a number of other bills changing collective bargaining, Clark County teacher's union head John Vellardita said Roberson's bill was the product of compromise. "We think it's high time that the same level of accountability be applied to principals," he said.

Reno-Sparks Chamber lobbyist Tray Abney said the bill starts to "re-balance the scales in favor of our elected officials and taxpayers."

The measure would also require unions to pay for any leave taken by employees performing union-specific duties and would speed up hearings with arbitrators over labor disputes.

The bill passed out of the Senate on a 15-4 vote in April. The committee took no action on the bill.

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