Nev. (Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009, 11:30 a.m. PST / 19:30 ZULU/GMT)
At this hour, local construction workers are handbilling
a Sparks Chamber of Commerce event at the Hyatt Place Hotel
in Reno on Terminal Way in front of Reno-Tahoe International
The chamber is hosting a free pizza luncheon for its members
today at the new property.
"We want to inform current and future chamber members that
holding an event at this property undercuts the organization's
support of local business," stated Paul McKenzie,
executive secretary-treasurer of the Building
and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada/AFL-CIO.
"Hyatt and its Louisiana-based developer took advantage
of a corporate welfare provision in Nevada tax law and built
in a location where it will never pay property tax to support
local schools, parks, roads, police and fire protection due
to the project being built on Airport Authority land,"
"Louisiana-based Intercoastal Hospitality, Inc., then hired
an Arkansas-based general contractor which imported out-of-state
workers and paid below area-standard wages and benefits.
"At the time,
one in three local construction workers was unemployed. Now,
two in three are sidelined. Two of the project's subcontractors
were not licensed in Nevada when the job was bid," McKenzie
"Last December, local workers came together to bring
attention to the unlicensed contractors and unsafe working conditions
on the job. Workers' lives were in danger and local media photographed
the unsafe conditions," McKenzie noted.
The Sparks Chamber website says the event offers the opportunity
to "find out about the future of the Sparks Chamber and
how we plan on building a stronger more sound business community
for the times ahead."
McKenzie noted that "Buy locally should mean hire locally
and do business locally. In the future, we hope that the Sparks
Chamber of Commerce will more carefully review its event venues.
We hear that Sparks offers many good possibilities."
Workers plan to handbill until at least 12:00 noon.
A copy of the handbill is available
via the front page of NevadaLabor.com.
Complete details on last
December's construction safety incident may be accessed
at the website.