Nevada Reforms Prevailing Wage Law, Repeals PLA Neutrality
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) recently signed into law two pro-union pieces of legislation that will revise construction provisions on public works projects. The first, AB 136, makes three substantive changes to the states prevailing wage law, including: lowering the threshold for projects that qualify for prevailing wages from $250,000 to $100,000; removing the prevailing wage exemption for charter schools; and eliminating a statute that allows prevailing wages for public school districts and the Nevada System of Higher Education to be paid at 90% of what is required for other public works projects.
Additionally, Gov. Sisolak signed into law SB 231, which overturns a 2015 law that prohibited government-mandated project labor agreements on public and publicly assisted projects. The bill also repealed a provision that states public bodies may not award a grant, tax abatement, tax credit or tax incentive to a contractor that enters into a contract with a labor organization. These changes will allow public entities in Nevada to enter into union-only PLAs, as well as exclude four out of five workers in the state who have chosen not to join a labor union from working on taxpayer-funded construction projects.
Republican lawmakers, with the backing of then-Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), made sweeping changes to labor laws in 2015 after taking control of the Nevada Senate and Assembly in the 2014 midterm elections. In 2016, Democrats regained control of the legislature but were unable to pass similar pro-union legislation over vetoes by Gov. Sandoval. The election of Gov. Sisolak in 2018, who ran on an agenda that promised changing various state labor laws, paved the way for the legislature to revive attempts at passing prevailing wage reform and PLA neutrality repeal.
Both measures passed the Senate and Assembly on a party line vote and were signed by Gov. Sisolak on May 28, 2019. AB 136 and SB 231 take effect July 1, 2019.