Pennsylvania Saves Prevailing Wage
The bill was not passed, as a dozen pro-worker GOP representatives broke with their party on the issue.
Prevailing wage laws mandate minimum wage and benefit levels on all government-funded construction projects above a certain cost threshold, which is currently at $25,000. The GOP wanted to raise it to $185,000, reports the IBEW.
Weakening the prevailing wage law would have had a negative impact on not only construction workers’ wallets, but on the quality of the projects, says Allentown, Local 375 Business Manager Brett Helfrich.
Data from the Keystone Research Center, a pro-worker think tank, backs Helfrich. The center released a report on the effects of prevailing wage that was released last year.
Consistent with the original rationale for establishing prevailing wage laws, a rigorous body of economic research shows that efforts to repeal these laws leads to:
- less work force training;
- a younger, less educated and less experienced work force;
- higher injury rates;
- lower wages; and
- lower health and pension coverage.
Research also reveals that prevailing wage laws do not raise costs, suggesting that the positive effect of higher wages on productivity compensates for higher labor costs.