Letter: Change prevailing wage formula



The March 31 story “Public works pay debated” is full of rhetoric but short on facts. Non-union contractors pay benefits, just as union contractors do. Quality of work is not exclusively tied to union participation or to excessively high wages. Public works jobs put out to bid specify a certain level of longevity and quality of the materials used.

Therefore, contractors bid on a level playing field. If the wage base were lower, contractors could and would bid the job for less. Competition ensures that, and the public gets better value for its money.

Our company has completed two public works jobs here in Clark County in the past year, and on both we paid our employees almost double their normal competitive wage. A few employees got a windfall in wages, and the community, including its poor, paid for it.

Non-union workers have seen their incomes decrease during this recession. One wonders why prevailing wages have increased as much as $10 per hour during the same time period? Union influence, certainly, at the public’s expense.

Excessive prevailing wages benefit the few at great cost to the many. Any politician who does not support revamping the prevailing wage formula is working against the public good.

Carleen Stephens