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Months later, talks with CCSD unions over vaccine mandate yet to begin

Updated November 16, 2021 - 4:42 pm

More than two-and-a-half months after the Clark County School Board approved a controversial COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees, negotiations between the school district and the unions have yet to begin.

A Clark County School District spokesman said Tuesday that some initial conversations about the mandate have taken place with employee unions, but formal negotiations have not yet started.

The School Board voted 5-1 on Sept. 2 to approve a vaccine mandate, which called for negotiating with unions and allowing for religious and medical exemptions. Trustee Danielle Ford voted no, and Trustee Katie Williams wasn’t present.

The meeting drew hundreds of people, and the board heard more than five hours of public comments — the majority of which were opposed to a mandate — before the vote.

Memorandums of agreement with five employee unions over the mandate, which could affect about42,000school district employees, are expected to come back before the board. But there is not yet any timetable for that to happen.

About 71 percent of school district employees have uploaded a completed vaccination card into an online platform. That’s up from 67 percent at the time of the vote.

The Clark County Education Association, which represents teachers and other licensed employees, didn’t have updates Tuesday about the mandate. A spokeswoman confirmed that talks haven’t started with the district.

Education Support Employees Association spokesman Alexander Marks said Monday that to his knowledge, there haven’t been any talks between the union and school district about the vaccination mandate.

The primary focus has been the union’s collective bargaining agreement, which was just ratified over the weekend, he said. The item is on Thursday’s School Board agenda for possible approval.

Negotiations also haven’t formally started with the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees.

Executive Director Stephen Augspurger said Tuesday that the union received an inquiry from the district as to whether he’s still a union negotiator as he’s retiring soon, but no formal sessions have been held.

Augspurger said he is sure, though, negotiations will be forthcoming.

Clark County Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick and North Las Vegas City Councilman Scott Black, both of whom sit on the county’s Board of Health, did not respond to a request for comment about the lack of progress on implementing the mandate.

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