Labor talks at standstill in Lyon County

YERINGTON - Many Lyon County employees will enter a fifth month without a new labor contract as negotiations seem headed for arbitration.

A final meeting between Lyon County Manager Steve Snyder and the Lyon County Employees Association is set for Nov. 15 before the negotiations move into an arbitration process called fact finding.

Prior meetings since the three-year labor contract expired June 30 have not resolved several issues. Contract talks have lasted for eight months.

"We feel it still boils down to wage issues and benefits issues," Snyder said.

The union seeks a three-year wage increase package with a 5-percent raise the first year, 4-percent the second year and 3-percent the third year. LCEA scaled the raise request down from an initial one-time 10 percent raise, said John Kidwell, the attorney representing the employees.

"The employees have had limited increases for the last five years compared with neighboring counties," Kidwell said. "The county for several years had difficulties with revenue. They were always asking for the association to lower request and accept lower raises."

The union also resists the county's desire to have employees pay any subsequent increases in health insurance premiums. Lyon County presently pays full health insurance benefits for employees.

The 90-member employees association makes up about two-thirds of the county's general employees. The Sheriff's Department and court employees are not covered by LCEA.

Snyder declined to speak about specifics in the contract talks.

"It's the county's position we still want to settle on Nov. 15," Snyder said. "I would always hesitate to have a third party settle an issue that should be settled locally. We would still rather negotiate."

The county and union have already rejected the first list of five potential fact finders supplied by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Both sides await a second list from which to choose.

A fact finder is the Nevada equivalent of an arbitrator. The fact finder rules on the issues established by a three-person panel composed of two members from the State Bar of Nevada and the Nevada State Board of Accountancy and a third person chosen by them.

As with the fact finder, the county and union will select Bar and Accountancy members from lists supplied by those organizations. Snyder and Kidwell said they have not received those lists yet.


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