Take the High Road On Construction in Baltimore

by: Mark Coles
September 21, 2016

Today’s construction industry is two-faced.

One model in construction combines jobs, high-quality training, and education to put workers on a career path with sustainable wages and benefits – the “high road” model. Another, revealed in a 2014 McClatchy Newspapers investigative report, exploits workers in dangerous, low-paying jobs with no upward mobility – the “low road” model.

Unfortunately, Baltimore’s construction market has thrived on the detrimental “low road” model for several decades now – but there’s hope for change. By approving a Community Benefits Agreement for Sagamore Development’s Port Covington project, the Baltimore City Council can create safe, sustainable job opportunities for members of our community.
Under a CBA, developers agree to hire workers in the community where they’re building – and give them decent wages and benefits.

CBAs starkly contrast with the history of Baltimore’s construction market. In 2005, the Maryland government tried to cut all funding for the Prevailing Wage Office – the office that makes sure workers on public construction projects earn fair, livable wages. Despite rain and sleet, Baltimore construction workers joined 1,500 workers’ rights advocates to protest the injustice.

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Leggett proposes pay-equity law for male, female contractors in Montgomery County

Contractors working for Montgomery County would be required to show that they pay men and women equally and do not retaliate against workers who share salary information under legislation introduced Tuesday by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D).

A handful of states, including New Mexico and Minnesota, have laws requiring pay equity for contract workers and government employees. Other states, including New Jersey, have outlawed retaliation against workers for sharing pay information.

But advocates for pay equity said Tuesday that if Leggett’s proposal is approved by the County Council, Montgomery would be the first municipal government to establish such requirements for contractors.

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(Copy of Bill 29-14)

Maryland becomes second state to set minimum wage to $10.10/hour

Following Connecticut’s lead, Maryland became the second state to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour Monday, the mark set by President Obama in his push to persuade Congress to set that standard nationally.

By an 87-47 vote, Maryland lawmakers approved a wage hike from the federally-mandated $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour by July 2018 – two years later than Gov. Martin O’Malley advocated. The hike will be achieved in five incremental raises, starting with a jump to $8 an hour on Jan. 1, 2015. Counties can vote to set their own minimum wage even higher.

In a statement, O’Malley congratulated lawmakers “for giving so many Maryland families the raise they deserve.” It had been a top legislative priority for the Governor in his final term.

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Maryland Approves Wage Bill for School Construction

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A measure to expand Maryland’s prevailing wage law has been passed by the Maryland General Assembly.

The state Senate passed the bill 32-15 on Wednesday, sending the measure to Gov. Martin O’Malley.

 The bill lowers the share of total school construction project costs paid by the state from 50 percent to 25 percent for the prevailing wage law to apply.

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Maryland DLLR to host Employment Rights & Safety Forum

March 19, 2014 from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Towson University
The third annual Division of Labor and Industry’s (DLI) Employment Rights & Safety Forum is on March 19, 2014 at Towson University. The Forum has a history of providing Maryland’s workforce with all of the must-knows in compliance, safety, and employment law regulations. This annual event  includes dynamic sessions lead by DLI staff and other industry professionals.(Read More)  

(Register Now Online)