Open Letter from City Leaders Calls for Prevailing Wages in State Housing Reforms

Thu, 18 May 2017, 17:53:20 EDT | Source: Smart Cities Prevail

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 18, 2017 – In an open letter that ran as a full page ad in today’s Sacramento Bee, elected leaders from six of California’s eight largest cities called on California Governor Jerry Brown and the State Legislature to include prevailing wage standards in state housing reforms. The ad was paid for by Smart Cities Prevail (SCP).

The state Legislature is considering myriad ideas for reform. One that has generated a lot of push-back from the building industry is incorporating prevailing wage standards into more residential projects.

Smart Cities Prevail (SCP) is a non-profit research organization that focuses on wage policies and contracting standards in the construction industry. The ad was signed by a group of local elected officials from the cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento.

The ad references ongoing efforts to streamline more housing development – with several proposals under consideration to combat California’s persistent housing affordability crisis again this year.

“Real housing reform needs to do more than simply streamline more development,” the leaders write. “We need to promote investment in the people who are doing the building, and struggling to pay the rent in our communities.”

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California’s middle-class job of the future: Road worker

The state legislature’s approval of a massive infrastructure plan Thursday night promises a $50 billion investment in road and bridge repair over the next 10 years. That money is expected to drive a surge in the demand for construction workers and apprentices in California.

Andrea Bernstein – April 07 2017

The work will be funded primarily through a tax on gasoline and diesel fuel. Gov. Jerry Brown’s office points to a 2011 formula devised by the White House Council of Economic Advisers to estimate it will create about 65,000 jobs each year, many with middle-class employment, an area where the state has struggled to grow.

The workers in demand will be carpenters, cement masons, laborers, operating engineers and ironworkers, said Tom Holsman, CEO of the Association of General Contractors of California.

“Those are the ones that will be most impacted, and at present they’ve all been geared up for some time to accommodate the demand,” he said. “I think we are well-situated for the workload that will follow this revenue stream.”

Construction companies that get public works contracts in California are required to pay their employees what’s known as a “prevailing wage.” That’s made infrastructure work a solid middle-class career track that’s attracting young people who aren’t seeking four-year degrees.

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