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Senate Bill 493 A provides public contractors in Oregon with better pay and incentivizes for continued training.

PMG: JOSEPH GALLIVAN - The Flanders Street Crossing, a publicly funded project in Portland opening in 2021. The Oregon Senate voted on potential new protections for construction workers. They should get the negotiated prevailing wage in whatever locality they are in in Oregon.

Tradespeople on publicly funded construction projects should soon be able to expect the prevailing wage.

The Oregon House of Representatives voted Monday, May 17, to pass legislation that codifies more substantial wages and benefits for workers on publicly funded construction projects.

The bill provides that the prevailing wage rate (PWR) for a trade or occupation is the wage established in a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for that locality. If there is more than one CBA in a locality, then the highest wage rate among the CBAs prevails. If a CBA does not exist for a given trade or occupation in a locality, the Labor Commissioner must determine the PWR using an independent wage survey.

Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene), who carried the legislation on the House floor, said, "It's long overdue for the State of Oregon to recognize community standards established by prevailing wage rate and continue the public-private partnership investing in family wages, healthcare, apprenticeship, and training for the construction industry."

Senate Bill 493 A passed 35 to 22. The bill will apply to all public works and goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. SB 493 A now moves to the Governor's desk for consideration.

"Our current system for determining wage rates is broken. Wages are stagnating under the current system, and we need to make this change if Oregon wants to cultivate a competitive market for a skilled workforce and vibrant construction industry."

The legislation also seeks to address pay equity for construction workers. The income gap between Black construction workers and White construction workers is 53% lower in states with a prevailing wage law than states without one.


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