Attacks on Prevailing Wage Continue At California's Doorstep, Across Nation

February 20, 2015 - While the Building Trades at this time are in a position of strength in California, having worked to elect statewide officials and legislators with a strong understanding of issues important to blue-collar working families, events around the country illustrate that we must be ever vigilant for the possibility of future Republican governors who would work against us.  Now is the time for the Building and Construction Trades to move with unity, to introduce legislation strengthening our apprenticeship/prevailing wage/compliance laws and other issues that are important to the Building Trades, fortifying ourselves for the inevitable attacks that will come to us in the years ahead. These issues will be discussed at our next executive board meeting. We need all trades to work together in a campaign to move strong legislation for the future.

Please take note of the attacks on prevailing wage that are continuing in Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country.

In neighboring Nevada, on California’s doorstep, the state Senate has approved a bill to repeal prevailing wage for school construction. The bill is expected to pass the Assembly. Nevada Republican Governor Brian Sandoval has not indicated whether he will sign it.

In the once great pro-union state of Michigan, now unbelievably a right-to-work state, Republican legislators say repealing prevailing wage is their top priority, and the first bill they introduced this year, Senate Bill 1, does just that. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has said he supports prevailing wage and opposes the repeal. He also had said that he would not sign the right-to-work measure, which he did immediately upon receiving it.

In Indiana, prevailing wage repeal appears likely. Measures are being scheduled for committee hearings, and the Republican dominated Legislature appears unlikely to agree to any compromise.

West Virginia narrowly avoided a prevailing wage repeal after major protests from workers and contractors alike, motivating the Republican majority there to agree to a compromise that keeps prevailing wage, but shifts determination of the rate from the state’s Department of Labor to a panel of university economists, which may lead to major downward revisions in the rates. Republicans have vowed to revisit the issue.

And in Kentucky, a committee has rejected both a “right to work” measure and a prevailing wage repeal, after opposition protests caused enough Republicans to join Democrats on the committee to vote down the proposals. This issue, too, is expected to reappear in the Legislature next year.

The California State Building Trades will be introducing strong and effective legislation for the long-term stability of apprenticeship and prevailing wage. We ask all trades to set their individual differences aside to support what is good for all.


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