National labor union weighs in on Question 3

By: - July 3, 2018 1:05 pm
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Someone new has chimed in on the contentious energy-regulation measure that is Question 3.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) on Monday issued a strongly worded statement in opposition of the ballot measure, calling it an “anti-worker, anti-consumer initiative.” Question 3 would require the Nevada Legislature to establish an open, competitive retail electric market and put in jeopardy the current monopoly enjoyed by NV Energy.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the ballot measure — 72 percent yes — back in 2016. However, because it involves a constitutional change, it is required to get voter approval twice.

And this time around there’s a lot more money involved.

Political action committees on either side of the measure have collectively raised more than $30 million to make their arguments to the public. That’s seven times more than what was raised when the question appeared on the 2016 ballot.

Question 3 is referred to as the Energy Choice Initiative by its supporters. In the statement released Monday, AFL-CIO Government Affairs Representative William Samuel pushed back on that name and urged people to support the ‘No On 3’ campaign. He wrote:

Nevada’s working families can defeat this initiative by spreading the word to friends, family members and coworkers that this initiative is not about consumer choice. It is about the desire of billionaire casino and server farm operators to use their market power to cut a good deal for themselves while leaving every-day Nevadans to fend for themselves against out-of-state investors and power suppliers.

Nevada has fair and just electricity rates that are determined in public hearings under procedures that mandate that power companies must serve all of Nevada. That is good for Nevada, good for our families, and good for high-quality union jobs.

The “billionaire casino and server farm operators” referred to: Sheldon Adelson, whose Las Vegas Sand Corporation has donated $10.9 million to support Question 3, and Switch Communications, which has also donated $10.9 million.

The AFL-CIO show of opposition isn’t completely unexpected, though it is still noteworthy for a national union to weigh in on statewide measures. The Nevada State AFL-CIO opposed the measure during the 2016 cycle. In March, the Independent wrote about leaked audio showing that two of the state’s top labor leaders, who are both involved with the union, staunchly opposed the measure.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, three children and one mutt.