December 20, 2021
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Friday that the Biden Administration could proceed with its COVID-19 vaccine or testing requirement for employers with 100 or more employees. This proposal, first promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in early November, had been enjoined by an earlier court decision. Plaintiffs have already appealed […]
September 10, 2021
| Lindsay Andrews
PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s announcement that he is mandating employee vaccination or weekly testing at businesses with 100 or more employees: “The Pennsylvania Chamber will be examining the full scope of these orders, to evaluate their impact on a private sector that has […]
August 02, 2021
Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Advances in Senate After weeks of negotiation, the Senate began consideration of the INVEST in America Act– the bipartisan infrastructure bill. If passed, the $1T bill is expected to be followed by additional legislation spending nearly $3.5T on spending priorities favored by progressive Democrat lawmakers, but which is facing opposition from moderate […]
July 12, 2021
President Biden on Friday signed a sweeping executive order that could have profound impacts on employers, including policies that target specific industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, banking and telecommunications. According to a fact sheet distributed by the White House, the executive order directs more than a dozen federal agencies to pursue 72 initiatives, ranging from […]
July 12, 2021
Governor Wolf opted to neither sign nor veto H.B. 336, the Administrative Code bill that is one of four bills accompanying the state budget passed in late June. Without action by the governor, legislation passing the General Assembly becomes law after 10 days. Among the bill’s key provisions was a one-sentence entry worked out as […]
The Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act requires the state and local governments to pay workers on most public projects costing over $25,000 a pre-determined wage rate that is often in excess of prevailing market rates. This unfunded mandate makes projects more expensive and is an unnecessary cost-driver that contributes to rising property taxes on residents and employers. The detrimental impact of the Prevailing Wage Act on the business community goes beyond higher state and local taxes:
- Artificially raising wages distorts the market and can ultimately increase costs on all public and private construction projects and maintenance work within the area;
- Arbitrary and capricious enforcement of the rules creates uncertainty and confusion for companies, which risk a three-year disqualification from public work for any violation;
- Complying with the Prevailing Wage Act is an administrative burden and can be overly complicated and time-consuming for contractors who must track specific work and tasks performed at any given time by all employees on a job and ensure that various wage rates are appropriately applied throughout different stages of a project;
- Prevailing wage can increase project costs to the point that state and local governments must postpone, curtail or cancel projects, which hinders economic development and job creation in the Commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Chamber supports repealing the Prevailing Wage Act. Short of full repeal, the Pennsylvania Chamber supports legislative initiatives or reforms to mitigate the Act’s harmful effects, including:
- Limiting application of the Prevailing Wage Act to projects for which the majority of funding is from public sources and exempting projects or aspects of a project funded through or with support from economic development programs;
- Increasing the $25,000 threshold that triggers the prevailing wage mandate, which has not been updated in over 50 years, and providing for regular increases, to account for inflation and ensure the application of the Act is consistent with its original intent, such as not applying to smaller projects and regular maintenance work;
- Allowing political subdivisions and school districts to “opt in” to or “opt out” of prevailing wage requirements;
- Ensuring that prevailing wage rates accurately reflect the true market-based prevailing wage rates in a local community; and,
- Ensuring that any regulations or guidelines that dictate employer compliance with the Prevailing Wage Act are unambiguous; including clear employee definitions and classifications.
Additionally, the PA Chamber supports open contracting to help ensure that contracts are assessed and awarded based on quality of work, experience, and cost. These decisions should not be directly influenced by a company’s affiliation with organized labor.