The prevailing wage is a simple but critically important idea: Someone working on a project funded completely, or in part, with tax dollars in Ohio is going to be paid a set wage for their job classification.
This removes the incentive for construction companies to increase their profits by hiring unskilled, unsafe workers who are going to do a subpar job to bloat the company’s profit margins.
When a company has to pay a worker the same wage, the prevailing wage, they hire skilled labor. They hire workers who are safer. They hire union workers.
These workers have increased consumer purchasing power and they spend the bulk of their money in their local communities. And they pay taxes locally and at the state level so it’s no surprise that states with strong prevailing wage laws have more money for schools, healthcare facilities, infrastructure, public safety and vital services for our communities and our fellow citizens. And prevailing wage laws save the taxpayers money.
Of much importance is injuries and deaths on the job. They’re lower in prevailing wage states because workers know what they’re doing on dangerous work sites, they’re paid a decent wage and they’re good at their jobs.
Profits, power, greed, a lack of compassion for the worker and an ignorance of the devastating impact that lowering wages and benefits has brought attacks on the prevailing wage law back to Ohio.
State Rep. Kristina Roegner introduced House Bill 282 to abolish the use of prevailing wage in Ohio on publicly funded projects. She maintains it is needed to reign in “exploding construction costs.”
We know that is just not true. Roegner is not alone. Lawmakers like her have introduced replica bills in Michigan, West Virginia, Indiana, Nevada, and Tennessee, using the same flawed talking points.
We’ll continue to fight against this extreme legislation and keep the prevailing wage in tact in Ohio.