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August 27, 2014

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Union to protest at opening of Bass Pro Shops

Fanfare over the opening of the new Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World at the Silverton Hotel Casino today may be tempered by protesters from the Carpenters Union, who plan to pass out leaflets and post banners near the store.

Frank Hawk, senior representative for the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, said the outdoor store chain was irresponsible in using two subcontractors during the store's construction that he says don't pay area standard wages and benefits. Those subcontractors were Pete King Drywall and Precision Concrete.

The union plans to have about half a dozen members at the store's grand opening from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. today. Hawk said the union is directing its protest at Bass Pro Shops.

"We've just got a real problem when somebody comes into our town, and we believe deliberately tries to cut the standards," Hawk said.

Hawk said Pete King Drywall and Precision Concrete don't pay what he said is the standard average wage of $27.93 an hour for carpenters in Southern Nevada, which include employer-paid benefits.

A representative of Pete King Drywall declined to comment and representatives of Precision Concrete could not be reached for comment.

Larry Whiteley, manager of corporate public relations at Bass Pro Shops, said the decisions to hire the subcontractors were the decisions of the project's general contractor. He said the decision is based on which companies can complete the job on time and on how competitive the bid is.

"We use them (unionized companies) whenever we possibly can," Whiteley said. "We look at the subcontractors and go by the competitive bid. If they weren't competitive they wouldn't be there."

Hawk said the general contractor on the project was Camco Pacific Construction Co. Inc. A representative of Camco Pacific Construction Co. Inc. could not be reached for comment.

Craig Cavileer, general manager of the Silverton, declined to comment on the protest.

Hawk disputed Whiteley's statements that the general contractor is the only one that makes the decisions on subcontractors.

"I don't think anybody could be that lucky with trying to come up with two bad contractors in our book. It's very specific for this national chain to come in and low ball the industry," Hawk said.

Hawk said the union's representatives have seen check stubs of workers at Pete King Drywall and Precision Concrete and found they pay between $15 and $20 an hour in wages and the workers must make contributions to their health care benefits and pension.

This isn't the first time the Carpenters Union has protested a new business' grand opening. The union announced indefinite protests of the Hofbrauhaus beer hall at Paradise Road and Harmon Avenue when it opened earlier this year. The union protested the restaurant's use of Pete King Drywall as a subcontractor.

He said the pickets aren't part of an organizing drive to unionize the companies. He said the protests are meant to raise public awareness about the subcontractors' pay practices and the fact that Bass Pro Shops used them.

"It's not about organizing these companies, it's about protecting our town," Hawk said. "It's more about protecting wages. To me the bottom line is about getting people paid for what they're worth."

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