Compromise crafted on prevailing wage

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senate Republican leaders have worked with key Democrats to craft a compromise on reforming the state’s prevailing wage law.

Under prevailing wage, the state Division of Labor determines hourly pay for workers on state construction projects. Union leaders say the prevailing wage is an accurate representation of the market and helps prevent out-of-state contractors from low-bidding jobs. Opponents claim prevailing wage rates are artificially high, driving up taxpayer costs for public projects.

Under the compromise reached Wednesday, the task of determining the prevailing wage would be turned over to the Workforce West Virginia office, which would consult with economists at West Virginia University and Marshall to determine the formula for appropriate pay. That formula would still need to be approved by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

The proposal recommends state projects under $500,000 would not be subject to prevailing wage.

Republicans have recently met with labor leaders in search of a compromise, instead of following through on a plan to eliminate prevailing wage. When talks broke down, leadership reached out to several key Democrats. Reportedly, at least three Democrats support the deal.

The proposal is expected to come up for third reading with right to amend in the Senate on Thursday.





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