October 2011

As reported by Peter Hall in  the Allentown Morning call, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Eastern PA has sued the City of Allentown over the City’s controversial ordinance bidders on City projects in excess of $250,000 to abide by a project labor agreement.  The Call reports that F.H. Rohrbach of Allentown, A.J. Trunzo of Bath, and Engelman Construction of Macungie joined ABC in the lawsuit.  A copy of the Complaint can be downloaded here.  ABC v. City of Allentown.

According to the complaint filed in the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, federal law preempts Allentown Ordinance 14865, which mandates that successful bidders on City projects recieving State or Federal funding to enter into collective bargaining agreements with various labor unions.  The Complaint asks the Court for a declaratory judgment that the Ordinance is invalid and an injunction prohibiting its enforcement.

The Complaint was just filed on October 24 and therefore an answer from the City of Allentown is at least twenty days away.  However, I will surely be blogging about this case in the future.

Our friends at the Commonwealth Foundation reported that six bills passed the Pennsylvania General Assembly which would amend Pennsylvania’s Prevailing Wage Law and potential save taxpayers millions.  Accord to the Foundation:

•HB 1271: Defines “maintenance work” to include road repairs, which reduces the number of projects subject to Prevailing Wage Act requirements.

•HB 1685: Requires using federal occupational classifications to clarify the application of the law to jobs on construction sites.

•HB 1329: Raises the minimum amount to which the Prevailing Wage Act applies to $185,000 (from $25,000) and adjusts for inflation in future years.

•HB 1541: Exempts projects where more than half the funding comes from private sources from the Prevailing Wage Act.

•HB 709: Allows school districts to opt out of the Prevailing Wage Act for school construction projects.

•HB 1191: Allows all local governments to opt out of the Prevailing Wage Act.

As I previously reported, Pennsylvania’s Prevailing Wage Law is particularly onerous because, unlike its big brother the Davis Bacon Act, it defaults to the union wage rate as the prevailing wage wage per se.  This costs taxpayers millions.  We are glad to see that our elected officials are taking a stand and changing things for the better.