James Beamer of the IBEW union accuses the Sun-Gazette of spreading misinformation about prevailing wage laws. Pot, meet kettle. Beamer says he can't find any evidence showing cost savings in states that repealed their prevailing wage laws. Apparently, he's not looking very hard.
There's plenty of evidence, available for free, showing that prevailing wage laws raise the overall costs of construction projects. Studies show not only higher costs in states that enacted prevailing wage laws, but also lower costs in states that have repealed them. Search FEE.org and CATO.org for some relevant information.
Prevailing wage laws are price-fixing schemes, designed to protect high-cost union workers and their inflexible work rules from competition. It should surprise no one to discover that these laws result in higher costs. How could it be otherwise? There's no mystery or misinformation involved; it's just common sense.
Perhaps recognizing his argument on costs is untenable, Beamer changes the subject to list other supposed benefits of these laws: safety, training, and quality of work. But, he's wrong on all of these counts as well. OSHA data show there was no increase in accident rates in states that repealed prevailing wage laws. Again, no mystery there. Union and non-union firms are subject to the same regulations, and have the same incentives to maintain a safe workplace.
Likewise for training and quality of work. There is nothing magical about union workers, and most workers don't receive their technical training from their union. Welders, electricians, carpenters, mechanics, CAD designers, etc none would be hired for those positions, unless they already possessed the required skill set. I've worked in both union and non-union shops. Both are full of competent, skilled workers. And both occasionally perform shoddy work.
Charles J. Russo
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom