(Michael Chamberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – In Sunday’s edition, the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board gave a favorable mention to our lawsuitagainst Clark County challenging the Project Labor Agreement on the Detention Center project. The suit the Nevada Business Coalition and Associated Builders and Contractors filed has brought this important issue, with a significant impact on Nevada’s taxpayers, to light.
This publicity has also revealed there is a bit of confusion among the public about just what exactly a PLA is. In a common mistake, some people have confused PLAs with prevailing wage.
There are fundamental differences between prevailing wage and PLA. Prevailing wage is and benefits. A PLA is a contract between parties on either a public or private project that dictates the rules that govern virtually every labor-related issue on the project.
Most prevailing wage projects do not have a PLA and many PLA projects are not subject to prevailing wage.
Prevailing wage is a state law that deals only with the total of pay and benefits required to be paid to all workers on public projects with a total construction cost more than $100,000. The law requires the wage and benefit rates be calculated by the Labor Commissioner on an annual basis. Because of the manner in which these rates are calculated they are often union wages but the law does not require that they be.
Prevailing wage is not applicable to private projects. The law does not cover any of the work rules or hiring requirements and has no impact on the right of workers to strike or picket.
Project Labor Agreements are contracts made between unions and the owners of a project, which may be public or private, and encompass a much broader range of subjects than just wages and benefits. PLAs force both union and non-union companies to hire workers from union halls, pay union wages, contribute to union benefit funds and dictate the work rules and virtually every other labor-related factor on the project while prohibiting most strikes and picketing.
We are proud that NBC’s and ABC’s action has made this important issue part of the discussion and more than happy to help clear up any confusion or misconceptions people may have.