2001 Nevada Legislature
UPDATES FROM THE FRONT LINE (Carson City)--- Union members showed up in force on April 6 to testify against SENATE BILL 564, the bill to privatize the state printshop. We wounded it and the Senate Government Affairs Committee killed it on April 16th. That doesn't mean it can't make a comeback. For a report on the hearing, complete details on the issue and how to contact lawmakers, click here.
NEVADA PREVAILING WAGE LAW THREATENED
UPDATE -- Assembly Bill 156 was killed by the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday, April 9. Stay tuned and we'll post the voting particulars as soon as we have them.
Thanks to everyone who responded. Great job!
CARSON CITY, Nev. (U-News) -- Nevada's prevailing wage law is under assault by both the usual suspects and a longtime friend.
Assembly Bill 156 proposes to raise the threshold triggering prevailing wages from $100,000 to $250,000 per construction project. This would prevent the payment of prevailing wages on many projects which currently require compensation at local area standards. It has the potential of triggering a financial shell game.
The new threshold is a large enough number to facilitate breaking up a major project into $250,000 blocks, calling them separate jobs, and making the damage to worker pay much more widespread than appears on the face of the bill. Such shenanigans have cost the public dearly in the past.
A midnight-hour congressional hike in the per-account limit for Federal Savings and Loan Insurance (FSLIC) turned the nation's savings and loans into casinos back in the reign of Bush the First. The resulting taxpayer-insured speculation continues to cost the public billions.
In the savings and loan case, fully insured accounts with higher amounts of money suddenly guaranteed against loss were bundled and placed in extremely speculative investments. With Uncle Sam as co-signer of these high stakes casino chips, taxpayers were the only ones at risk.
Much the same could happen with the raising of the prevailing wage threshold by bundling work in blocks of $250,000. Under the current limit, it would be much harder to pull such maneuvers, which is why AB 156 must be killed.
It has already been heard by Assemblyman Joe Dini's, D-Yerington, Commerce and Labor Commitee. No action was taken by the committee on April 6, but it could be voted on without notice at any time. Assemblyman Dini, a seven-time speaker and longtime friend of labor, has deserted us on this one and is the principal supporter of raising the threshold.
The list of committee members appears below.
KEY VOTE ---Assemblyman David Parks, D-Las Vegas, has been identified by labor lobbyists as the key swing vote in committee. If the committee votes to kill it, the bill can still be brought to the assembly floor by a vote of the body, but it makes such a strategy much more difficult. Please contact your fellow union members, family members and friends and have them start calling, faxing and e-mailing the committee members to KILL AB 156.
Watch NevadaLabor.com for updates.
THE CASE FOR PREVAILING WAGE LAWS: The wage levels of the skilled trades provide the benchmarks for the pay scales of every worker in a given area. If the wages of the skilled trades are undercut, everyone suffers proportionately.
This is one of the undisputed truisms which organized labor never repeats enough. It's also the reason employers constantly try to undercut prevailing wage laws. Next to importing illegal aliens as slaves, undercutting union rates is how chambers of commerce approach payroll Valhalla.
Utah killed its prevailing wage law a decade or so ago. Cost overruns and construction defects on public works jobs have skyrocketed in the state ever since.
Utah construction pay has fallen to a point where skilled workers have left the state in droves. The underskilled now doing the work contribute to the cost overruns and defects, but the conservatives got what they wanted -- an ever-downward spiral of shabbier and shabbier work for less and less pay. (See "The Fight for Fair Wages.")
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Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee lineup and contact info.
Names marked with an asterisk* were labor-endorsed in the 2000 election cycle.
*Joe Dini, Assembly Speaker Emeritus and Committee Chair, 775-684-8507 email@example.com
*Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, Assembly Majority Leader, Vice-Chair 775-684-8537 firstname.lastname@example.org
*Morse Arberry, Jr., D-Las Vegas, 775-684-8587 email@example.com
*Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, 775-684-8549 firstname.lastname@example.org
*David Goldwater, D-Las Vegas, 775-684-8541 email@example.com
*Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, 775-684-8845 firstname.lastname@example.org
*John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, 775-684-8595 email@example.com
*David Parks, D-Las Vegas, 775-684-8821 firstname.lastname@example.org
*Richard Perkins, D-Henderson, Assembly Speaker 775-684-8503 email@example.com
*Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, 775-684-8829 firstname.lastname@example.org
*Dawn Gibbons, R-Reno, 775-684-8855 email@example.com
Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, Assembly Minority Leader 775-684-8843 firstname.lastname@example.org
David Humke, R-Reno, 775-684-8847 email@example.com
Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, 775-684-8853 firstname.lastname@example.org
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