The situation in Clark County, Nevada is complicated. To begin with, strikes are illegal and carry heavy fines, as they should be. The Clark County Education Association (CCEA) disaffiliated last year from the National Education Association (NEA) and is the faction that has voted to strike. The NEA Nevada state affiliate created a rival Clark County union, the National Education Association of Southern Nevada. Teacher unions only tolerate strikes they can control and claim credit for. So this is one strike the NEA will not get behind, at least at the current time. Keep your eyes in their sockets as you hear a teacher union official talk about the strike scheduled for next school year and the dire consequences, such as losing their jobs. Certainly we don’t hear these dire predictions by NEA teacher union officials once they’ve taken their own strike vote.
Amelia Pak-Harvey and Katelyn Newburg have the story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Teachers have voted to strike during the 2019-20 school year if the Clark County School District makes budget cuts as a result of a lack of state funding after the legislative session, union officials announced Sunday.
Such a strike would be illegal under Nevada law, and the Clark County Educators Association could face fines up to $50,000 per day if educators walked off the job.
About 5,000 teachers voted, authorizing the strike by a 78 percent margin, the union said Sunday.
The vote is part of a concerted public push by the education community for adequate education funding as members anxiously await the unveiling of a new state funding formula to change the way money is distributed to schools. With roughly three weeks left in the session, legislators have not yet publicly unveiled such a bill.
“CCSD educators have endured two years of salary freezes with fewer resources and in larger class sizes,” the union said in a press release Sunday. “The vote affirms the feeling of many educators that ‘enough is enough.’”
Association spokesman Keenan Korth and executive director John Vellardita did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
But if teachers do strike, they would be doing so amid an educator population that’s fractured between two unions.
CCEA disaffiliated from the statewide association and the National Education Association last year. Meanwhile, the Nevada State Education Association launched its own affiliate, the National Education Association of Southern Nevada, to compete for union membership in Clark County.
Chris Daly, deputy executive director of government relations for the other statewide educators union — the Nevada State Education Association — argued that ultimately only one in five Clark County educators voted to strike.
Daly noted that the nationwide teachers strikes have occurred with support from the local and national union affiliates.
But CCEA is standing on its own, he said.
“Clearly Mr. Vellardita is attempting to find a point of leverage to engage the session,” Daly said. “But the best way for educators to engage the state Legislature is through the state association.”
Vicki Kreidel, vice president of the Nevada Education Association of Southern Nevada, said she has been hearing concerns from teachers — including whether or not the association has a strike fund to financially support those educators who go on strike.
“The other thing that of course teachers are worried about is losing their job,” she said. “And so they want to know is CCEA prepared to support my family while I don’t have a job?”