More ABC Anti-Prevailing Wage Bills Killed by Senate Committee

January 12, 2012 - SBCTC Advocacy Effective Again
Just as an Assembly committee had done last week, the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee Wednesday killed an effort by ABC to gut California’s prevailing wage laws.  The two ABC-backed bills, SB 725 and 727, had the same aims as the Assembly bills defeated last week.  They would have increased the prevailing wage threshold, allowed local governments and special districts to exempt themselves from prevailing wage by passing an ordinance or resolution, eliminate prevailing wage on specific public works projects, narrowed the definition of a public works project, weakened apprentice requirements, attacked collective bargaining agreements, and lowered the prevailing wage by abolishing the “modal” rate.  With no Republicans attending today’s hearing, both bills went down on 0-5 votes.

ABC arguments that Central Valley contractors were harmed by being forced to pay Bay Area prevailing wage were immediately destroyed by SBCTC Deputy Legislative Director Jeremy Smith, who produced charts showing that the Central Valley prevailing wage was significantly lower, proportionate to the region’s lower cost of living.

“We are defending the wage that leads to middle class livelihoods,” Smith told the committee.  “This is not the time to be lowering wages.  This would eviscerate prevailing wage, take away middle-class livelihoods from skilled union and non-union construction workers.”

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