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Survey: Transportation Funding vs. Prevailing Wage

Click here to take the Prevailing Wage Survey

After failing to tie badly needed transportation funding increases to liquor privatization last summer, the state House GOP now plans to kill the transportation plan, which passed the Senate 42-7, unless it receives concessions on the prevailing wage law.

The tactic is intended to put pressure on unions, whose members would benefit from the thousands of jobs created by improvements to roads bridges and mass transit, but who are also protected from competition with shoddy non-union contractors who pay sub-par wages.

Through the Great Recession, Pennsylvania fared better economically then most states through the economic impact of extended unemployment payments, targeted investments in infrastructure, education, job training and natural gas exploration.

But the Corbett administration ended that era, and Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate, after staying below the national average for four straight years of recession, has now lingered for two years above the national rate. 

At stake is the safety of motorists and an estimated 60,000 construction jobs. 

Some union leaders have expressed willingness to negotiate changes in prevailing wage requirements in exchange for quick passage of the $2.5 billion-per-year Senate transportation plan.  Others are warning that allowing the GOP to hold critical safety improvements hostage to a Tea Party agenda will embolden the enemies of Pennsylvania’s working families.

What do you think?  Should the General Assembly consider changes in prevailing wages to free the transportation package from the Republican death grip?

Click here to take the survey.

These are the three bills pending in the House:

H.B. 796 would raise the threshold for projects considered to be "public work" from a minimum of $25,000 to $100,000.

H.B. 665 would broaden the definition of "maintenance work" and "public work" to exclude a wider range of projects from the Prevailing Wage Act.

H.B. 1538 would allow political subdivisions or an authority, agency, or instrumentality of a political subdivision to opt out of the Prevailing Wage Act for public work projects.

For a list of all prevailing wage bills introduced, click here.






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