SBCTC Legislative Update: SB 7 - Fighting for Prevailing Wage

March 5, 2013 -This bulletin is the first in a regular series that will be posted in the coming weeks to provide you information on the substance and progress of legislation sponsored by the State Building Trades.

We start today with Senate Bill 7, co-authored by Democratic Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento and Republican Senator Anthony Cannella of Ceres. That bipartisan co-authorship alone is great news. Senator Steinberg has long been a great friend of working people, but it has been many years since a Republican legislator has signed on to work for our cause. We hope this bodes well for future bipartisan support in the Legislature for workers’ interests.

SB 7 provides that charter cities are eligible for state funds for public works projects only if they pay the prevailing wage on their municipal projects. This is similar to successful legislation we carried two years ago to make local governments eligible for state funds only if they lacked blanket prohibitions on project labor agreements.

This bill is designed to counteract efforts by anti-union lobbying groups such as the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), who urge charter cities to exempt themselves from prevailing wage, and encourage general law cities to become charter cities for the same purpose. If enacted, SB 7 would provide strong financial motivation to those cities to pay the prevailing wage. Steinberg said middle class jobs with decent wages are the key to California’s economic recovery. Cannella said he supports prevailing wage because his background as a civil engineer and former mayor has shown him that many firms try to “game the system” by undercutting prevailing wages to win a low-ball contract.

As long as ABC and its ilk can use charter cities to drive their race-to-the-bottom agenda, they’ll keep trying. SB 7 can close that loophole and protect the wages of working men and women throughout California, including charter cities. We will work tirelessly for its passage.

Click HERE to read the Building Trades letter in support of the bill.

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