Legislative News

STATE OF VIRGINIA - Legislative Agenda

Members and the Political Action Committee worked hard these past election season. They are glad to report that thanks to all the time put by many of our members, we were able to have many of our endorsed candidates being favored in their elections.

Now work has started... elected legislators are pushing hard to advance real changes with strong pro-worker legislation bill proposals, bills that can translate in more good paying jobs and better working conditions and benefits in Virginia for working families.

The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters has a series of legislative priorities that seek to eliminate wage theft, improve construction safety and quality, and promote community benefits for construction in Virginia.

Virginia must pass a Private Right of Action with General Contractor Liability.

• Workers should have the right to receive treble damages, interest, and attorney’s fees for nonpayment of wages.

• In addition, General Contractors that utilize wage theft as a business model must be held jointly and severally liable for wage theft committed on their projects.

• Studies show that General Contractors are able to save up to 30% on a bid by hiring subcontractors that commit wage theft. These practices decimate area wages and standards, hurt responsible contractors, and shortchange the community of important tax revenues.

• Legislation such as Del. Carroll Foy’s HB 123 (2020) would create a mechanism for the construction market to self-police for bad actors, while providing a deterrent to unscrupulous contractors whose business models rely on wage theft.

Virginia must pass a state Prevailing Wage.

• Prevailing wages are determined by a series of surveys of construction wages, which reflect area wages and standards for specific crafts.

• Dozens of studies over decades have shown that prevailing wages increase productivity, raise wages, help local contractors, promote high-quality apprenticeship programs, attract veterans to the trades, and do not affect the cost of construction.

• Legislation such as Sen. Saslaw’s SB 8 (2020) would require state-funded projects in Virginia to be subject to prevailing wage standards, while giving the option for localities to adopt prevailing wages.

Virginia must repeal the “Comstock Rule,” which bans localities and state agencies from issuing Project Labor Agreements.

• Project Labor Agreements improve efficiency and benefit everyone: the construction industry, owners, contractors, local communities, and the taxpayer.

• Localities should have the ability to issue Project Labor Agreements to ensure participation in state-approved apprenticeship programs, robust safety standards, local hiring requirements, and minority contractor participation.

• Legislation such as Del. Carroll Foy’s HB 122 would give localities and state agencies the ability to issue Project Labor Agreements for publicly-funded construction projects.

Jose Frias

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