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Delegates Vote to Repeal Prevailing Wage

ArmsteadPodium2016.jpg
Perry Bennett
/
West Virginia Legislative Photography
House Speaker Tim Armstead at the podium during a floor session.

Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates voted 55 to 44 Wednesday to repeal the state's prevailing wage as dozens of union members looked on from the gallery.

The prevailing wage is the hourly rate and benefits workers are paid on state construction projects. House Bill 4005 calls for a full repeal of the wage rate which could come as early as May.

Members debated the bill on the floor for more than two hours, arguing a repeal would save tax payer dollars. On the opposite side, members said a repeal will lower the wages of workers across West Virginia, both union and nonunion. 

“No longer will our taxpayers be held hostage by big labor, no longer will our West Virginia taxpayers have to pay for an artificial wage rate set by unelected government bureaucrats who cater to big labor. You see today is that day you will decide to stand for the taxpayer or to stand with the union bosses.” - Delegate Eric Householder, R-Berkeley

Before the vote, the bill was only discussed by one committee, the House Committee on Government Organization, but was also the subject of a public hearing. At that hearing, two of 18 speakers spoke out in support of the repeal. 

“Unions made this country a middle class that could afford to buy homes with people that could go to college, and now all of a sudden that’s somehow not popular. Let’s pile on. We’ve got coal miners that are worried about losing their jobs, and now we’re talking to the union trade people, and we’re saying we’re gonna cut your salary, too. Who do you think is gonna be left in West Virginia?” - Delegate Nancy Guthrie, D-Kanawha

The bill will now be sent to the Senate for the chamber's consideration. 


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