Written by Kiley Putnam
5 News told you back in April about how prevailing wage laws have undergone some changes in our state. But now, prevailing wage has the potential to disappear temporality come next month.
On Monday June 8th, a Republican-led committee voted to not extend the deadline to set a new prevailing wage in our state. The agency met a June 1st deadline to share it's method on how the wage would be reached, but If WorkForce West Virginia doesn’t submit more details on it's plans by July 1st, the state will no longer have a prevailing wage for the time being.
Some state officials feel this will be a huge blow for West Virginians in the construction industry.
"Now in essence on July 1st, if the governor doesn't take action, there will be no prevailing wage in the state of West Virginia and that's really sad for working class folks," said Mike Caputo, Minority Whip of the West Virginia House of Delegates.
So what could potentially happen to contractors and construction workers if our state no longer has a prevailing wage?
"Prevailing wage is very important for our community, it protects both contractors and workers giving them a level playing field to get public contracts. Without prevailing wage, you're susceptible to low wage out-of-area companies coming in and poaching people with our tax dollars. And while we expect to get the prevailing wage back at some point, there is a lot of instability right now, a lot of uncertainty, said Steve White, Director of the Affiliated Construction Trade.
Some also think this will drive the existing workers out of state.
"It's not a union, non-union thing, it's a West Virginia resident thing. I'll tell you the wages are going to go down and the out-of-state workers are going to come in here and do this work, we got the people here, we got the skill, lets just let our own people do it," said Brad Britton, President & Training Coordinator at UA Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 565.
However, Republican leaders feel the loss of prevailing wage is not a crisis at hand and at worse will be a period of time allowing free market to thrive. The law currently in place has already eliminated prevailing wage for projects using $500,000 or less in public money.
Currently rated by 0 people