(Michael Chamaberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – A coalition of construction trade unions has compiled a hit list of companies the union has targeted, a recent report reveals.
The Verrill Dana report to determine whether a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) can be justified on the Clark County Detention Center project, which was discussed recently by NBC, contains the revelation that the Southern Nevada Building Trades Council (SNBTC) has a list of 400 local companies the SNBTC can strike without a strike vote.
[T]he Building Trades Council maintains a confidential list of strike or picketing authorizations against companies with whom they have disputes. That list currently has more than 400 target companies on it.
Normally a union may only engage in strikes, picketing and other disruptive activities after an affirmative vote of its members. But the SNBTC has created a list of local firms it will target without having first to go through that process. Ironically, the Verill Dana report uses the existence of this list as an argument for the use of the PLA on this project.
Whether or not any of the project’s contractors are on that list, its existence reflects a significant interest in the use of labor’s muscle and a coordinated consideration of it.
The names of companies on the list are secret. Apparently they could be subject to disruptive actions without warning.
The report states that the union coalition has engaged in picketing recently.
Job actions have occurred in recent history and the Building Trades Council reports that picket lines have been set up by five SNBTC-affiliated local unions against Las Vegas establishments over just the last three months.
The report also notes that unions are prone to engaging in strikes and picketing even when those activities constitute violations of law or clauses of contracts the unions have signed. This, too, is considered by the Verrill Dana report as a justification for the county to use a PLA on the detention center project.
Amazingly, union hit lists, illegal strikes and breaches of contract are considered reasons to reward unions by requiring non-union contractors to comply with Project Labor Agreements. Unions profit from these agreements as they force these companies to use union workers and pay into union benefit funds from which their workers are unlikely to ever collect.
Unions should have to compete on their merits rather than being able to use political muscle and the threat of disruptive behavior to force non-union companies to use them.
Another hearing in NBC and ABC’s lawsuit to overturn the PLA on Clark County Detention Center project is scheduled for today, August 15.
(Michael Chamaberlain is Executive Director of Nevada Business Coalition.)