Attacks on Prevailing Wage Intensify Around the Country
June 5, 2013 - Throughout the country, in states where conservative Republicans have gained control of state governments, attacks on the prevailing wage continue to move forward. In the latest stinging defeat for working people at the hands of anti-worker forces, the state of Tennessee has not only banned prevailing wage on state projects, but has now enacted a law, (H.B. 501) that prohibits any local government from requiring prevailing wages on projects or requiring private employers to provide more generous health benefits, leave policies, or wages that exceed state standards. Any existing local ordinances that allow for better wages are now unenforceable. Not content with ending prevailing wage on state projects, they have now removed the right of cities, counties or local districts to even decide to choose to pay workers decently!
A similar law was signed recently by the Republican governor of Kansas. The state had already repealed its longstanding state prevailing wage law, but now “prohibits cities, counties, and local government units from using ordinances, resolutions, or law to require private employers to provide leave, benefits and higher compensation.”
Eighteen states do not currently have prevailing wage laws, most repealed in the past few decades by Republican legislators and governors. In other states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, more anti-prevailing wage measures are progressing.
These attacks on working people around the country illustrate the importance of our work here in California, where we are sponsoring legislation to protect and expand prevailing wages for workers. The sad experiences of Tennessee, Kansas and the others show the price California workers could pay if we ever fail to be vigilant, vigorous and united in our fight for a decent quality of life. Please see attached article.
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