The need for Prevailing Wage

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The basic reason why the prevailing wage was created was to help local contractors to compete with out-of–state contractors, paying a lower rate. The same people complaining about the prevailing wage would also be complaining about immigrant labor coming into a county for those jobs. If you visit Columbus Avenue in Palisades Park or areas of Dover, you would see immigrants getting picked up for Construction jobs! Are they properly trained? No, I have created apprenticeships following tenets of the National Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, and I know what is needed for a 4- or 5-year program!

The rates or wages for prevailing wages are developed by surveying contractors and unions to determine the wages for each classification (Source: William Winkler)! Some of the variables looked at are the wages in the largest city in a county, viewing the majority wage! If more than one-half of all the workers reported in that city are at a certain wage than that is the majority wage rate and that wage rate becomes the rate for the whole county.

If there is not a majority wage, as listed above, then a weighted wage is computed using data from the largest city in the county, and that becomes the prevailing wage. If no hours are reported in a county’s largest city then a wage is computed for the county, and that becomes the Prevailing wage, and finally, if no data is reported for the entire county, and that county’s old Prevailing Wage remains in effect. This has been the process, since 1931, and earlier in an historical context.

Employers are required to follow the above rates, and disputes between labor and employers are heard by the Department of Labor in many states. Davis-Bacon is a federal law to ensure prevailing wage laws on federal construction projects. The laws on prevailing wages are built into contracts developed by employers, and reflects the training of craft workers, and ensures benefits for older workers. Union apprenticeships often require college, and technical training that ensures quality workers. These are labor standards. There is a requirement for on the job training, and at least 140 hours of classroom training for each year of an apprenticeship.

Bill Weightman


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