Union pickets Gardnerville Elementary construction | RecordCourier.com

Union pickets Gardnerville Elementary construction

by Scott Neuffer

A half-dozen union workers picketed outside Gardnerville Elementary School on Wednesday, drawing attention to a certain subcontractor working on the school’s $6.1 million remodel.

Steve Watson, market development manager of Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local No. 26, was carrying a sign along Highway 395 that said, “Fleet using California labor for Nevada construction jobs.”

Watson was referring to Fleet Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. of Sparks, which he accused of hiring California workers instead of employing Nevadans.

“For public works, when you bring California workers here, that money leaves the state,” he said. “It’s all taxpayer money from Nevadans.”

Watson said he was more concerned about the company hiring out-of-state workers than simply unionized workers.

“At least hire Nevadans,” he said.

The owner of Fleeting Heating and Air Conditioning could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Douglas County School District Chief Financial Officer Holly Luna said that the district’s project manager, Scott McCullough, has to confirm that subcontractors on school projects are meeting the state’s prevailing wage requirements.

“We don’t have an obligation to confirm they’re using Nevada workers,” said Luna. “That’s the contractor’s obligation under revised NRS, to use a certain percentage of local workers.”

Luna said “local” under the law means Nevada residents, not necessarily workers from the location of the project. She also said that Fleet Heating and Air Conditioning had informed McCullough that they were using 100 percent Nevada workers.

Funded by the 2008 continuation bond, construction at Gardnerville Elementary began in October and is expected to finish by the start of the 2012 school year. The school’s existing multipurpose room will be razed, and a new entrance will be created between the existing office and the Heritage Building. New classrooms, offices and a multipurpose room are currently being built near the soccer field.

Core Construction is the general contractor.