On May 28, 2019, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed legislation repealing changes made by the Republican held legislature in 2015 that weakened prevailing wage laws. The legislation lowers the threshold for government projects in which prevailing wage applies from $250,000 to $100,000. It also restores full prevailing wage on education construction, which was previous lowered to 90%. Learn more about the law from KTVN.
In support of the legislation, PILMA’s Executive Director sent the following letter to the Nevada Assembly Speaker:
Dear Mr. Speaker:
Companies in the biopharmaceutical industry and members of the building trades unions have a 15-year history of partnership, embodied through the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association (PILMA).
The biopharmaceutical industry is one of the few manufacturing industries that maintains a significant U.S. footprint, supporting 4.4 million American jobs. The skills needed to build and maintain biopharmaceutical research and manufacturing facilities are incredibly complex, requiring exacting standards to guarantee the safety and efficacy of lifesaving treatments and cures.
To meet these standards, biopharmaceutical companies and other specialized industries have come to rely on the highly-skilled workers of North America’s Building Trades Unions and the more than $1.5 billion they invest each year in training their members to be the safest, best trained and highest skilled workers in the world. Behind every apprenticeship there must be a job supporting it. Apprentices earn while they learn, graduate debt free and all this is done using no taxpayer money.
Prevailing wage laws are essential to the continued viability of the building trades training program. Without the promise of jobs supported by prevailing wage laws, the program would not exist.
The companies that comprise PILMA recognize the importance of prevailing wage laws to their ability to expand and maintain facilities to the highest standards. PILMA’s 2017 resolution concerning the importance of federal prevailing wage laws states, “the biopharmaceutical industry relies on the immediate ability to employ members of the building trades unions to build these facilities whenever the need arises; and, …the Davis-Bacon Act is essential to creating area standards for wages and benefits that sustain a highly skilled workforce available locally.”
In Nevada, the prevailing wage for education construction is currently 90% of the standard rate. A proposed bill in the state legislature, AB 136, would overturn the law mandating a 90%
prevailing wage, and lower the threshold for projects in which prevailing wage applies from $250,000 to $100,000.
PILMA supports AB 136. The law is important in ensuring fair wages and benefits for skilled construction workers who build quality infrastructure in the U.S.
The current Nevada law mandating a prevailing wage lower than what the market determines is in effect a price control, which PILMA is fundamentally opposed to. A 2017 PILMA resolution concerning price controls on biopharmaceuticals states that price controls “disrupts America’s competitive market-based economy… and America relies on its competitive marketplace to control costs.”
PILMA has held longstanding positions supporting policies that promote economic development and expand job growth. AB 136 is a common sense proposal that supports a living wage, health and pension benefits for union members and their families. It is essential that prevailing wage laws are protected throughout the country so that highly skilled workers maintain status in the middle class and so we can all depend on the integrity of our infrastructure – whether it be manufacturing facilities, roads, bridges or our schools.
Executive Director, PILMA