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President of Building Trades hopeful legislation will not pass

07.30.13

JUNE 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

President of Building Trades hopeful legislation will not pass

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 2nd- Frank Sirianni, President of the Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council in Harrisburg, which is a labor federation representing labor unions that members are employed within the building and construction trade industry, is hopeful anti-labor legislation that was recently voted out of committee by the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee so they may be considered by the full Pennsylvania House of Representatives will not be passed.

The committee is chaired by Monroe County Representative Mario Scavello (Republican-176th Legislative District). The legislation could effect labor organizations affiliated with the building and construction trade unions.

In April the House Labor and Industry Committee voted two anti-prevailing wage bills out of committee that adds to the number of bill’s that have been introduced in this legislative session in the Pennsylvania General Assembly that attacks provisions of the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act.

Also, Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) are again under attack that help state building and construction union workers gain employment that is at least partially funded by taxpayer money.

The anti-prevailing wage legislation is supported by the anti-union, pro-business members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Mr. Sirianni after being contacted by phone at his Harrisburg office stated the bills if passed would hurt members of the building trades unions and is another attempt by anti-union legislators to feed work to out-of-the-state nonunion contractors.

House Bill (HB) 665 would change the definitions of “construction” and “maintenance” projects so that more public projects would be classified as “maintenance” and therefore be exempt from prevailing wage laws. “Maintenance” projects under this proposed legislation would include full replacement of guide rails, curbs, pipes, and other road equipment as well as repaving up to 3 1/2 inches of road surface, including associated milling. This would exempt a huge number of construction crews from prevailing wage protections.

HB 796 would amend the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act to raise the threshold from $25,000 to $100,000 for projects that would be subject to prevailing wage laws. The bill is a transparent effort to undermine prevailing wage laws in the commonwealth, Mr. Sirianni said.