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Hard Day’s Right: Nevada GOP Moves to Slash Construction Wages as SB119 Advances to Senate

Danny Thompson, Executive Vice Treasurer of the Nevada AFL-CIO.

Danny Thompson, Executive Vice Treasurer of the Nevada AFL-CIO.

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The Nevada GOP is using its new majority to cut construction workers’ wages through an education spending bill meant to encourage construction.  The Senate Government Affairs Committee voted along party lines, 3-1, to approve Senate Bill 119, an education funding bill that includes language that would exempt school districts from paying the prevailing wage on publicly funded projects.  SB119 also allows school districts to rollover bonds and continue to issue bonds for ten years past the date of voter approval.  

Senator David Parks (D-Las Vegas) proposed removing the prevailing wage language from the bill before it advanced but was voted down.  Democrat Kelvin Atkinson also came out against the bill, saying, “If we gut prevailing wage, folks aren’t going to be able to feed their families.  If there are lower wages, you are taking essential things out of homes and money out of the economy.”

Following the vote, Danny Thompson, Executive Vice Treasurer of the Nevada AFL-CIO, told the Las Vegas Sun: “Maintaining the prevailing wage means that you get the highest quality worker out there.  People leave if they don’t get those jobs. If you want qualified people you’ve got to pay prevailing wage.”

The Nevada GOP won control of the House, Senate, and governor’s mansion in November.  The legislative session has not been short on hard-right powerplays, including proposed legislation to remove public comment from the redistricting process, bills concerning the deregulation of firearms, and legislation concerning the free speech of religious individuals in the public school system.  

They have also come out swinging at unions with another bill aimed at curtailing collective bargaining rights.  Despite the inevitability of SB119’s passage, Sen. David Parks says he plans to make pro-worker voices heard.

“I hope when the governor sees this it would not be to his liking,” Parks said.  “We’ll continue to give it whatever effort we can. We think it’s dead wrong.”

The Senate Government Affairs Committee hearing on SB119 lasted more than three hours and featured public comment from both labor and conservative groups.  Not surprisingly, the anti-union contractors lobby, the Associated Builders and Contractors, wholly support the wage-slashing measure.  SB119 moves to the Senate floor for a vote.


One Comment on “Hard Day’s Right: Nevada GOP Moves to Slash Construction Wages as SB119 Advances to Senate”

  1. The race to the bottom. New GOP slogan nationwide seems to be “you won’t have a pot to piss in when were done , we’ll own that too “

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