With elections on the horizon and the public debate around construction policies heating up, these guidelines can help make sense of which construction policies work. When examining a policy, it’s important to ask these key questions:
Does it keep construction employers honest?
- Cheating construction employers reduce competition. By cutting corners on worker wages, training and safety, they make it difficult for honest contractors to compete.
- Policies such as project labor agreements and prevailing wage keep construction employers honest, by holding them to the law and ensuring they provide fair wages, training and safety precautions.
- This saves cities money for years after the project finishes, as they spend less on maintenance and redoing low quality work.
Does it build the tax base?
- Middle class careers build up the tax base. For cash-strapped cities, middle class careers generate tax revenue and ease the burden on costly social services.
- Families with more disposable income also spend more in local businesses. Their earnings multiply throughout the local economy (the multiplier effect).
- By contrast, through low-wage, temporary, short-term work employers often evade taxes and keep workers dependent on government services.
- Read between the lines. Contractors who cheat have a huge stake in misinforming the public. They seek to keep profits in the hands of a few rather than play by the rules.
- By contrast, apprenticeships and policies that promote them provide lifelong training and middle class careers for those who need it most. Many
- registered apprenticeship programs outreach specifically to veterans, women, low-income workers, and minorities. These men and women provide the foundation for a strong economy.
Start the conversation.
- What is a project labor agreement?
- What is apprenticeship?
- How can school construction boost the economy?
- What is prevailing wage?
Photo courtesy of Ironworkers Local 229.