NH Voices: Jeff Sullivan — Prevailing wage: Working families prevail
MR. REAP’S RECENT commentary on SB 271 (An Act to Require Prevailing Wages on State-Funded Public Works Projects) misses the mark and distorts the reality. Trying to turn the debate to a union issue is an effort to contort the facts, and the benefits, of the proposed legislation.
Despite wide-spread public misconception, a misconception also apparently shared by the CEO of the Associated Builders of New Hampshire (he should know better), prevailing wage is not “union” wage. Prevailing wage, both federally and in the states with similar laws, is based upon extensive surveys conducted in which contractors disclose wages and benefits paid to its workforce. There is no distinction between union and non-union workers. These surveys will then set direction for wage rates to be paid to construction workers on government-funded projects.
The “facts” tossed around by Mr. Reap have no support when put to the test. Simply put, a prevailing wage law will require contractors to compete for public projects in New Hampshire based on a set of criteria that ensures its workforce is the best-trained, best-equipped and best managed. Projects will be awarded to high-performing contractors; not to those that can assemble the cheapest, least-trained workforce. It is no coincidence that jurisdictions with prevailing wage law protections have the lowest incidence of workplace injury and death. Supporters of SB 271 understand all the ancillary benefits of a well-codified prevailing wage law.
Read the full oped on the Union Leader website.