Carpenters union demonstrates against Metcalf Builders over wage disparity

A carpenters union moved its demonstration against local contractor Metcalf Builders to the busy intersection of Hot Springs Road and Highway 395 Monday, hoping to attract attention to its crusade for prevailing wages.

Michael Witt, a representative for the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, said about three union members are stationed at the street corner to increase awareness about fair pay and health care, not to condemn any of Metcalf's job sites or subcontractors.

"It's a shame on Metcalf Builders," he said Monday. "He's hiring subcontractors that don't pay area-standard wages or health care for workers. To build vibrant communities, you need contractors that provide area-standard wages and family health care for its work force. And Metcalf Builders is not one of those contractors."

The demonstration is not located near any job site, but union members did hold the long "Shame on Metcalf Builders" sign near the contractor's 751 Basque Way office for about a week, Witt said. The demonstration could go on for six months.

Contractor Thomas Metcalf said the dispute is just a case of "tag, it's our turn" with the union.

The Local 971 demonstrated against Gore Acoustics & Drywall Systems Inc. of Sparks at the new Harley-Davidson Financial Services building in October 2004 because a drywall subcontractor allegedly did not pay prevailing wages.

Under Nevada law, prevailing wages are determined by an annual survey by the state labor commissioner of contractors who have done work in the county where the project is being built.

Prevailing wages for Carson City could mean that workers get paid up to $34 an hour.

"We hire union contractors, but we also hire non-union," Metcalf said.

He said the company hired a non-union subcontractor to work on the Irwin Union Financial Center, on East College Parkway, and several others for projects in Reno.

-- Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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