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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=22568
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 27, 2017 12:24 PM
From: Representative Sheryl M. Delozier
To: All House members
Subject: Introduction of Legislation to Amend the Prevailing Wage Act
 
I plan to introduce legislation in the near future to amend the Prevailing Wage Act to establish a process that determines actual prevailing minimum wage for a particular county. With respect to determining the true prevailing wage rate in an area, my legislation requires the Secretary of Labor & Industry to 1) establish prevailing wage rates on a country by county basis; 2) base such rates on wage data actively solicited from contractors; 3) base such data on actual wages paid on private-sector construction projects in a particular county. My legislation would ensure that wage data submitted by contractors be kept confidential by the Department of Labor & Industry.

It is important to note that the act does not specify how the Secretary of Labor & Industry is to determine the wage rates, or how they are to be promulgated. In the past, different Administrations have used various interpretations of the law to determine the prevailing wage rates for public projects using no standard methodology. The Ridge Administration tried to initiate a county-by-county wage survey process. The Rendell Administration made no serious attempt to gather comprehensive wage data and simply utilized collective bargaining rates (which is still process being used). I believe the Legislature needs to provide firm guidance to the Secretary on how he/she should be calculating prevailing wage rates.

I believe the most rationale means of determining the “prevailing minimum wage” rate is to find out what wages are actually paid on private-sector construction projects in a particular locality. This means that the Secretary must gather accurate wage data from contractors. Quite frankly, nonunion contractors have been hesitant to share wage information with the department because of the fear that such data would become public information. My legislation promotes the gathering of such information by requiring that it be kept confidential by the department; with this guarantee, I believe we can see much greater participation in wage surveys by nonunion contractors

It is important to note that my legislation simply amends the Prevailing Wage Act so as to give specific guidance to the secretary on how to determine the actual "prevailing" wage rate in a given area. The current process (utilization of union age rates) is not reflective of how the system, or law, was intended to operate. There are many counties where the use of union wage rates is not representative of the "prevailing minimum wage rate" actually paid by contractors in a particular area.

My legislation offers a reasonable means of determining these wage rates. I hope that you will join me in this effort by cosponsoring this legislation.



Introduced as HB981