By KEITH M. PHANEUF
February 21, 2017, 6:08 PM
The clash over labor costs intensified Tuesday at the state Capitol.
While one legislative panel split down the middle over whether to raise Connecticut’s minimum wage, unions and their allies rallied to battle proposals that would allow communities to cut worker wages on public construction projects.
And while the labor committee battled over the minimum wage, the Connecticut Building Trades Council, other unions and their allies rallied to block proposed changes to Connecticut’s prevailing wage statute.
Currently, municipal remodeling projects that cost more than $100,000 and new construction projects costing more than $400,000 must meet a competitive wage scale based on the regional market. Municipal officials say, though, that this standard generally reflects artificially inflated costs paid chiefly to unionized construction workers.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, proposed new parameters in January of $500,000 for remodeling work and $1 million for new construction.
House and Senate Republicans also have introduced bills to raise the thresholds.
“I just don’t know what’s wrong with this building,” said Lori J. Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, who was referring to both the prevailing wage proposals and to the opposition to the minimum wage hike. “That’s not the kind of state that we are.”
“We understand that raising thresholds are not good for workers,” said David Roche, president of the building trades council.