Court Officially Affirms New CA Prevailing Wage Law
Unanimous Council Decision Paves Way for SB 7 Compliance
Newport Beach – Last night, the Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously to pay prevailing wage on locally funded projects in order to comply with a new state law known as SB 7 that was signed into law last year and was upheld last month by a San Diego Court Judge.
Responding to last night’s action, Dale Howard, spokesperson for Smart Cities Prevail – California’s leading research and education authority on prevailing wage issues – has issued the following statement:
“Coming on the heels of the San Diego Superior Court ruling that SB 7 is constitutional, the City Council in Newport Beach voted unanimously to pay prevailing wage on local projects. This move will bring the city into compliance with state law, opening the door to more local hiring on construction projects and more middle class jobs. Because workers earn a decent wage and benefits, reliance on public assistance by underpaid construction workers is reduced.
Across California, there has been strong support for prevailing wage policies. In 2012, four cities rejected charters that would have been eliminated prevailing wage on the local level. Just last year, San Diego’s City Council moved to expand their prevailing wage policy because they recognized the benefits – not only to workers, but to the community as a whole.
When California communities pay prevailing wage, more projects are completed on time and on budget, resulting in stronger communities, a fairly compensated workforce and more customers for local businesses. This win-win scenario results from $1.50 in economic activity being generated for every dollar spent on a local prevailing wage project.
We applaud the Newport Beach City Council’s decision, and look forward to more cities taking this step to ensure more efficient local construction and more benefits to the community as a whole.”
Prevailing wage is the standard rate paid on public construction projects to a worker in a given trade, in a given region. Both non-union and union contractors perform prevailing wage work. The rate varies from region to region and is typically lower in rural areas than in large cities.
SB 7, which took effect in January of this year, would limit access of charter cities to discretionary state construction funds if they do not comply with prevailing wage provisions on all of their public works projects by 2015. The law would exclude contracts for projects of $25,000 or less for construction work and projects of $15,000 or less for alteration, demolition, repair or maintenance work. A large majority of remaining charter cities are expected to comply with the new law. The law was authored by Democratic State Senator Darrell Steinberg and Republican State Senator Anthony Cannella.
Smart Cities Prevail is a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to providing complete research and education on the benefits of prevailing wage. More than 33,000 Californians have signed its petition in support of prevailing wage, which can be viewed here.
For more information, visit www.smartcitiesprevail.org.