Assembly Overwhelmingly Approves SBCTC-Sponsored Senate Bill 7

September 4, 2013 - Our Bill to Motivate Charter Cities to Pay Prevailing Wage! Senate Bill 7, the legislation sponsored by the State Building Trades to provide incentives to charter cities to pay prevailing wage on municipal projects in order to receive state funding, was approved Wednesday by the full Assembly by a 51-18 vote. The measure was previously approved by the Senate, where it will now return for concurrence in Assembly amendments, before reaching the Governor’s desk. The bipartisan bill is co-authored by Democratic Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento, and Republican Senator Anthony Cannella of Ceres.

Several Assembly members who spoke in favor of the bill showed an understanding of the many benefits to cities that result when they pay prevailing wage; including the most extensive training, the highest quality of workmanship, bolstering the regional economy, boosting the local tax base, and ultimate long-term savings from higher productivity.  Assembly Member Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, who carried the bill in the Assembly, explained that SB 7 allows the state to spend its tax dollars on public works for the greatest public benefit. It does not force any charter city from adopting a contrary policy, he explained, but simply allows the state to cease rewarding those unwise policies.

Two Republicans spoke in opposition, Assembly member Shannon Grove of Bakersfield who has called labor unions “enemies of the constitution,” and Assembly member Tim Donnelly, from Twin Peaks in San Bernardino County, who said on the floor today that prevailing wage is “an insane amount of money” to pay construction workers. However, one Republican – Jeff Gorell of Camarillo – did respond to workers’ efforts and voted for the bill.

SBCTC President Robbie Hunter commented: “This is a victory for all construction workers. The average Building Trades worker earns $54,000 a year – not a king’s ransom – and works hard, often under extreme conditions. All California construction workers deserve to earn a fair wage, and Senate Bill 7 provides a great motivation to charter cities to provide it.”

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