State Building Trades' Prevailing Wage Bill Clears First Committee

March 14, 2013 - Senate Bill 7, the legislation sponsored by the State Building Trades to require charter cities to pay prevailing wage on municipal projects in order to receive state funding, was approved Wednesday by the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. The bipartisan legislation is authored by Democratic Senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento and Republican Senator Anthony Cannella of Ceres.

Legislators were persuaded by the wide support of our affiliates and local building trades councils. They also heard from Greg McClelland of the Western Steel Council, an industry organization that represents private steel erecting companies in California. McClelland stated that his companies, who build large projects and infrastructure, such as bridges, dams, and skyscrapers, need a streamlined, highly skilled workforce that will complete projects on time, within budget, done once, done right. Prevailing wage ensures that workforce and its training.

We also made clear that the prevailing wage ensures local workers access to good jobs on public works projects and helps keep wages in the local economy. Legislators strongly agreed that the state can rightfully use its purse strings to encourage cities to support the local economy by paying prevailing wage.

The bill passed on a 3-1 vote with one member absent. Voting in support were Democratic Committee Chair Senator Ted Lieu of Redondo Beach and Democrats Mark Leno of San Francisco and Ricardo Lara of Long Beach. Republican Mark Wyland of Escondido voted against the bill. Senator Leno signed on as a co-author.

Many thanks to all the affiliates, local building trades councils and contractor associations who submitted letters of support for this important bill. Senate Bill 7 now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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