August is Prevailing Wage Hearing Month
The House Labor and Industry Committee has scheduled multiple hearings on the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act. Earlier this year, the same committee held a one-day hearing on the same topic. The first of three additional hearings will occur on August 10. It will deal with proposals to change the way rates are determined (House Bill 1367) and how classifications of work are determined (House Bill 1685). House Bill 1367 would use occupational wage rate data from the Center for Workforce and Analysis to establish prevailing wages. House Bill 1685 would tie trades classifications to the Federal Occupational Handbook published by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both of these bills would dramatically alter how the law is administered and would have an anticompetitive effect on companies that pay good wages and benefits.
A second hearing is scheduled for August 17. That hearing is focused on House Bill 1271, which redefines “maintenance work” so that specific road construction activities like road milling are not covered by the prevailing wage law. This legislation is a direct reaction to case law of a few years ago where the Pennsylvania courts ruled that road milling was covered by the Prevailing Wage Act.
A just announced third hearing is set for August 24 and will be about House Bill 1409. That legislation creates a mechanism for school districts to be exempt from prevailing wage law and requires a local referendum to bring the district back into coverage of the act.
This committee also has an August 16 hearing scheduled on “right to work” legislation (House Bills 50, 51, 52 and 53). All hearings will take place in Harrisburg. Keep in mind that no votes can occur at a public hearing, so consideration of any of these bills could not occur until after the House’s summer break. The full House will not reconvene for a voting session until September 26.