IUE-CWA Local 123

Pennsylvania's Prevailing Wage Law

Construction workers on projects covered by Pennsylvania’s prevailing wage law must be paid minimum “prevailing” wage and benefit levels which vary by occupation and geographical area within the state. This year, about 20 different proposals for eliminating or weakening prevailing wage laws have been introduced into the Pennsylvania legislature.

Construction industry prevailing wage laws have long operated nationally and in states as a check against the tendency of the construction industry to degenerate into destructive wage and price competition. Such competition can drive skilled and experienced workers from the industry, reduce productivity and quality, and lead to poverty-level jobs, all without saving construction customers any money.

Consistent with the original rationale for establishing prevailing laws, a rigorous body of economic research shows that their repeal leads to:

  • less workforce training,
  • a younger, less educated and less experienced workforce,
  • higher injury rates,
  • lower wages; and
  • lower health and pension coverage.

Research also reveals that prevailing wage laws do not raise costs, suggesting that the positive affect of higher wages on productivity compensates for higher labor costs.



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