Anti-Prevailing Wage Lawsuit is a Waste of Money for El Centro

At a time when the City of El Centro is experiencing the second highest unemployment rate of any city in the nation, it is astounding that leaders there are wasting tax dollars and time by joining a lawsuit against a new state law designed to create more middle class jobs for construction workers across California.

The new law, Senate Bill 7 does not require cities to pay prevailing wages, but it does provide incentives to cities that choose to pay prevailing wages on projects that are locally funded.  SB7 gives access to state funding and financing if they will comply with prevailing wage agreements already in place for all state and federally funded projects on locally funded projects.

State and federal governments already require the payment of prevailing wage, because for over 80 years, prevailing wage laws have ensured that taxpayer dollars go to fund projects that are completed by the best trained workers available for the best value possible; more often than not, these projects are completed on time and on budget.  For years, out of state lobby groups have tried to convince local officials in California that they can save money by paying workers less.  In practice, these claims tend to fall apart.

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In Support of Prevailing Wages

As Mayor and Vice Mayor of Vacaville, we have unique knowledge of the impact of public construction projects both on taxpayers, and our local economy. Taxpayers expect our public works to be done right, and cost effectively. And our community benefits when these projects employ local workers at decent wages.

That’s why last year we passed a resolution in support of SB7 – a new state law that encourages more cities to pay prevailing wage on public construction projects.

And it’s why today, we are disappointed to see some California cities filing suit to block this law.

Research clearly demonstrates that prevailing wage projects don’t cost any more than those built by low wage, less skilled workers. In fact, prevailing wage projects often save taxpayer dollars as a result of the projects having fewer change orders, fewer delays, and fewer accidents.

The reason is simple: Prevailing wage projects are built by the best trained workers available. Prevailing wage workers tend to be higher skilled because these projects help fund training programs that not only ensure that we get top quality completed project, but that we have a well trained workforce in the future to support our growing infrastructure needs.

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NYC: Firms building city-backed affordable housing repeatedly caught cheating workers out of wages

Last week, Mayor de Blasio promised to “lift up working families” with soon-to-be built affordable apartments the city is sponsoring on a vacant lot in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

 But at an affordable housing project a few blocks away, builder MDG Design and subcontractor F. Rizos, settled federal wage-cheating charges in April 2013 by agreeing to pay $960,000 in back wages.

Just one month later, MDG was hit with more wage-cheating charges on another city project, this time for $4.5 million in back wages, a city record.

Yet MDG was chosen by the former Bloomberg administration that very month to turn a city-owned warehouse in Williamsburg into 55 affordable apartments and stands to build hundreds more in the coming years.

Many taxpayer-funded developments in New York City require contractors and their subcontractors to pay “prevailing wages.” Some contractors jump through hoops to avoid this.

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