The Facts About Prevailing Wages


The payment of prevailing wages is good for the economy of the Central Valley. The extra tax revenue base created by well-paid workers improves the ability of public entities to provide quality services to the valley's citizens.


Not only does it help working families build a financial future for themselves, it also gives them good health and pension benefits. With these benefits these families can afford to access good health care in the valley without extra costs to public health systems.


Without prevailing wages and health and pension benefits, Valley workers have no future. Sub-standard wages prevent them from building a career, buying cars, goods and homes, and forces them to use free public hospitals and emergency rooms. This creates a downward spiral that hurts everyone in the Central Valley.

What the studies show

Scores of studies have examined the impact of the payment of prevailing wages and benefits throughout the United States. Major studies are summarized below. All of the studies have found that:

  • The payment of prevailing wages (living wages) does not increase the cost of construction significantly, if at all.
  • In fact, the payment of prevailing wages often reduces costs because of the increase in productivity, the decrease in job site injuries, and savings derived from significant reductions in future maintenance because of the higher quality of the original construction.
  • Where prevailing wages are paid, training programs are more prevalent, including higher participation by minorities and disadvantaged workers.
  • The failure to pay prevailing wages and benefits creates a direct cost to taxpayers because it shifts the cost of health care and pensions from employers to public health systems.
  • The failure to pay prevailing wages creates direct costs to taxpayers and insurers because of the significant increase in job site injuries created by less-well trained workers.
  • The failure to pay prevailing wages often increase construction costs, reduces tax revenues, lowers the general economy and forces skilled workers to migrate to other areas, further reducing local tax bases.


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