(Michael Chamberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – Local trade unions continue to lead Clark County around by the nose when it comes to Project Labor Agreements.
The Las Vegas Sun reported Thursday morning that Clark County and the unions are formally appealing the ruling from District Court Judge Jerry Wiese that awarded a victory to construction workers, employers and taxpayers by rejecting the PLA for the Clark County Detention Center remodel project. The Nevada Business Coalition and the Associated Builders and Contractors had sued the County to prevent it from building this project under the PLA it had negotiated with the unions.
Judge Wiese ruled that certain provisions of the PLA violated state law governing government contracts by unfairly favoring unions over non-union workers and contractors.
The requirements that non-union contractors are limited to a maximum of seven of their own employees and had to hire out of the union hall as well as the obligation for them to pay into union benefit funds “do not guard against ‘favoritism’, but instead favor union contractors over non-union contractors,” according to the judge’s ruling.
Of course these provisions unfairly favor unions. In fact, unions support PLA’s because of these provisions that give them unfair advantages over non-union workers and contractors. This is also why the unions are demanding the case be appealed.
The Sun’s Steven Green reported,
In a short court filing Tuesday, Clark County District Attorney David Roger’s office and the Southern Nevada Building & Construction Trades Council said they’re appealing Wiese’s ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Attorneys for the unions have said that besides blocking strikes, the Project Labor Agreement would “effectively coordinate the various trades that will work on the project and realize efficiencies that will save taxpayers money – such as the requirement that all contractors have access to state-registered apprentices, whom can be paid at lower prevailing wage rates.”
“Effectively coordinat[ing] the various trades” is the job of the general contractor. But the PLA usurps that authority and hands it to the unions.
In fact there is nothing in the PLA that could not, or has not been, accomplished by other means, except that it may prevent unions from engaging in work stoppages that are already illegal or violations of their existing contracts. But if they’re already willing to break the law or their other agreements to go on strike what’s another piece of paper going to do to prevent that.
Judge Wiese ruled the PLA unfairly favored unions and we’re confident the Nevada Supreme Court will agree.
(Michael Chamberlain is Executive Director of Nevada Business Coalition.)