May 17, 2022 5:41 am

Nevada's political-industrial complex dropped everything (namely urgent public priories which were being customarily ignored anyway) to give a football field the biggest public financial subsidy in the history of public subsidies or football fields. (Photo: Ronda Churchill)

The New York Times published a story on the Raiders late last week that mostly focuses on mayhem in the front office, with an emphasis on the dysfunctional and bungling nature of the organization. But arguably more important were the parts of the story that shed light on working conditions within the organization. Here’s an excerpt:

Adams, who started in the human resources department in 2016, said she was told to create job descriptions that would make it impossible for employees to file for overtime even though workers could log 12 or more hours during game days, training camp and other busy periods…

Adams, who is Black, filed a complaint against the Raiders with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission. In the complaint, which was reviewed by The Times, she accused the team of discriminating against her because of her race and retaliating against her after she raised concerns about pay disparities and unequal treatment.

Separately, in 2020, Nicolle Reeder, a former Raiders employee, sued the team on behalf of herself and other game-day employees, accusing the team of violating labor laws by denying them required rest and meal breaks and not paying wages on time. The suit was settled last year for $325,000, a fraction of which was distributed among more than 400 affected employees.

Bradley Kaplan, who worked as a scout for 12 years, sued the Raiders in 2019 because, he said in a lawsuit, he was demoted after telling the team he and his wife were expecting a child during the football season. He said that after he expressed concerns about balancing his football and family responsibilities, and after he requested family leave, he was fired. The team successfully moved these claims to arbitration, where they were resolved behind closed doors.

When Nevada’s political-industrial complex dropped everything (namely urgent public priories which were being customarily ignored anyway) to give a football field the biggest public financial subsidy in the history of public subsidies or football fields, the scheme was promoted and defended on the policy front by the premise of expanded prosperity. Specifically, jobs jobs jobs.

Everybody knew it was hogwash. The stadium wasn’t built because it would be good for Nevada’s workforce. Nobody, and probably least anybody in the political-industrial complex who was making the claim, sincerely believed building the NFL a stadium to attract one of its teams would have a significant positive impact on the number, wages, quality and working conditions of jobs in Southern Nevada.

And it hasn’t.

Similarly, your area movers and shakers and stadium makers could care less about the “stone age,” as one employee described it to the Times, working conditions within the one employment sector where the stadium might have produced a relatively few good-paying jobs, the Raiders organization itself.

The aforementioned mover-shaker set loves to gush about how special and bold and entrepreneurial Nevada is. But Nevada’s approach to economic development is pretty much the same banal top-down strategy as that found to lesser or greater degree in nearly every state: Give public money to already deep-pocketed “job creators,” and cross your fingers.

The pathetic job creation associated with the stadium or the humiliation of getting hornswoggled by Elon Musk should prompt Nevada to consider putting at least as much emphasis on bottom-up “economic development” as it has bestowed on the top-down variety. But that would require Nevada to be something it is so fond of saying it already is: innovative.

Don’t hold your breath.

(This column originally appeared in the Daily Current newsletter, the editor’s opinionated morning news roundup, which you can subscribe to here.)

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.

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