Nevada Contractors Fight Back Against BTOP

Associated Builders & Contractors of Southern Nevada (ABC-SN) issued a statement Nov. 6 strongly opposing the Building Trades Organizing Project’s (BTOP) tactics that force unionizing. BTOP is an AFL-CIO front for an alliance of 15 unions including two of America’s most corrupt unions, the Teamsters and Laborers (LIUNA). Excerpts of ABC’s statement follow:

“BTOP…is targeting ABC members in Las Vegas with a campaign to force open-shop contractors to become unionized — even against the expressed wishes of their workers. BTOP has spent millions of dollars over the last two years on a campaign based on misleading and incomplete information, unlawful job actions and other questionable tactics. BTOP kicked off its nationally publicized, $6 million campaign in southern Nevada with visits from high officials of the AFL-CIO, including President John Sweeney. BTOP’s goal is to unionize the entire construction industry in southern Nevada, starting with concrete finishing, then framing, then other trades.

‘Two years later, BTOP has failed to make progress with the concrete segment of the industry, or with any other segments, for that matter,’ said Larry Litchfield, executive vice president of ABC-Southern Nevada (ABC-SN). He added that BTOP’s failures have driven it to desperate and illegal measures of harassment and coercion. Consider the following:

  * On Aug. 4, 1998, BTOP and other unions were faced with a temporary restraining order; and on Sep. 3, 1998, with a preliminary injunction in a case filed by local subcontractor and ABC-SN member Precision Concrete. The case involves unlawful trespassing on that company’s job sites and unlawful blocking of entrances to those job sites.
  * The same judge entered another temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in an action filed by giant homebuilder Lewis Homes against BTOP and other unions for similar misconduct on Lewis Homes’ job sites.
  * On Sep. 29, 1998, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an extensive multiple-count complaint against BTOP and its member unions. The complaint was based on evidence that the unions threatened employees with physical harm; unlawfully impeded traffic; struck vehicles as they entered job sites; attempted to vandalize and destroy products on vehicles attempting to enter job sites; entered the job sites themselves, grabbing tools from working employees and throwing them into wet concrete; assaulted employees with bullhorns; and attempted to physically force employees off the jobs [See UCU 1.11].
  * On Oct. 12, 1998, BTOP and the unions were found in contempt of court for violating the Lewis Homes preliminary injunction, and ordered to pay a fine for that violation.
  * On Oct. 15, 1998, another judge, on petition of another ABC member-subcontractor — Kukurin Concrete — signed a temporary restraining order against BTOP and other unions for unlawful trespassing and unlawful blockage of Kukurin’s job-site entrances.
  * On Oct. 21, 1998, BTOP and other unions were found in contempt of court for two separate violations of the preliminary injunction issued in the Precision Concrete case.
  * On Oct. 23 and Nov. 4, 1998, the state court, on request of regional framing contractor and ABC-SN member Pete King Corp., issued yet another temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against unlawful trespass and unlawful “horizontal picketing” that blocks Pete King’s job-site entrances.
  * On Nov. 4, 1998, the judge expanded the Precision Concrete injunction to prohibit “horizontal picketing” in front of Precision’s job-site entrances, its offices or the homes of its owners and officers.
  * On Oct. 30, 1998, the NLRB issued a formal complaint against BTOP affiliate Ironworkers Union Local 416 for illegal secondary boycott activities against Steel Engineers Inc., a major unionized subcontractor on the Spaghetti Bowl project. In addition, the NLRB is preparing a petition for a federal court injunction against the unlawful secondary boycott.
  * On the basis of unfair-labor-practice charges filed on Oct. 14, 1998, by ABC-SN member Meadow Valley Contractors, the general contractor on the Spaghetti Bowl, the NLRB, by threatening to issue a formal complaint against BTOP affiliate Operating Engineers Local 12, for unlawful picketing, forced that union into a written settlement by which the union agreed to post a notice to its members that it would refrain from unlawful recognitional picketing.

ABC-Southern Nevada is one of 83 chapters nationwide that represent more than 20,000 construction and construction-related firms embracing the union-free, or Merit Shop, philosophy. This philosophy promotes free enterprise in the construction-bidding marketplace and freedom of choice regarding the labor affiliation of its members and their employees.”