Fairness is a core principle for any true-blue West Virginian. Fair pay for a good day’s work, a fair shot at a good job, and fair treatment in the workplace. Fairness is a value we cherish, and for many years a law known as Prevailing Wage ensured fairness for all Mountaineers. Then in 2016, without proper study, our short-sighted legislative leadership repealed prevailing wage, and thousands of workers found themselves unemployed and in desperate need. West Virginia families suffered as breadwinners left home in search of opportunities elsewhere, and local businesses began to close their doors. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can restore fairness by restoring prevailing wage.
The Fair Rate
But what is prevailing wage, and how does it ensure fairness for all? Prevailing Wage Law mandates a level playing field for contractors and fair wages and benefits for workers. The law requires contractors and subcontractors on construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and demolition projects to pay workers an hourly “prevailing wage” when working on tax-funded projects. The U.S. Department of Labor determines the prevailing wage based on wages paid to workers employed on similar projects in the area. In other words, the going rate, the fair rate.
Why is this important? Without prevailing wage, reputable contractors may lose out on jobs, as fly-by-night contractors underbid projects by shaving money from workers’ wages. This tactic not only impacts workers but also harms local communities. These bad actors and their imported workers don’t pay local taxes. They don’t patronize local businesses or contribute to the well-being of our local communities. Instead, they take the money and run – leaving shoddy work and broken local economies behind them.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can restore fair treatment for all West Virginia workers. We can reunite families and turn around our state’s economy. But we must act now to restore prevailing wage and ensure a future where fairness is again a cherished value.
Find your West Virginia representatives here and reach out to them to let them know you would like them to reinstate the Prevailing Wage Law.
You can help restore the Prevailing Wage Law by signing the petition. Sign your name, share with your friends, and let’s restore the Prevailing Wage Law to help keep our young people here and move West Virginia forward.