Bills to Protect & Expand Prevailing Wage Approved by Committees

April 10, 2013 - Two important bills, sponsored by the State Building and Construction Trades Council, to protect and expand construction workers’ rights to earn prevailing wage on public works projects, were approved by committees of the State Legislature this week.

Assembly Bill 302, authored by Assembly Member Ed Chau, D-Alhambra, defines “de minimis” for the purpose of determining when projects are exempt from prevailing wage because the government’s investment is relatively small. Historically, the Department of Industrial Relations has defined any project for which public funding is less than 1.64% of the total value as “de minimis,” and therefore not subject to prevailing wage. However, on large projects valued in the tens of millions of dollars, that percentage still results in large public expenditures. AB 302 defines “de minimis” as less than one percent of the total project cost and less than $10,000. That will ensure that workers on large projects with significant government dollars, even if a small percentage of the overall cost, will earn prevailing wage. AB 302 was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Assembly Bill 1140 by Assembly Member Tom Daly, D-Anaheim, would require that any change made to prevailing wage take effect immediately on all public works projects. This is necessary because sometimes there is a lag of several years between the time a project is advertised for bid and when construction starts, and therefore the prevailing wage at the time of the bid is less than the prevailing wage at the time of construction. This bill would ensure construction workers entitled to the current prevailing wage in fact earn it. AB 1140 was approved by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.

Both bills were approved on party line votes; Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing. The State Building Trades is sponsoring these bills to make sure that Building Trades workers on public works projects are paid what they deserve. 

For more information, contact Building Trades Legislative Director Cesar Diaz at 916-443-3302 or [email protected] .


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