ShareThis Page

Prevailing wage misunderstood

| Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

With regard to his column “About that transportation bill ...” (Nov. 24 and, I would like to educate Colin McNickle about the prevailing wage. Comparing the prevailing wage to “government-sanctioned extortion” is exactly what I would expect from some right-wing lunatic who doesn't understand this law.

In 1961, the lawmakers of this great commonwealth came up with an idea to reinvest in the American worker while adding profits to the local economy and tax base. This law states that any publicly funded construction project (worth more than a certain amount) shall pay a family-sustaining wage regardless of any affiliation with a union — this wage shall be paid to any worker, union or nonunion. Granted, these wages are derived from collective bargaining agreements with trade unions.

Most nonunion workers get paid a substandard salary and in most cases are provided with no health care or pension plan. When given the opportunity to work on a prevailing-wage project, their pay is increased and they are able to provide for their families, with extra money to spend in the local economy.

Instead of bashing unions, how about thanking them for improving the middle class?

Tim Custer

The writer is business manager of Youngwood-based Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 354 (

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.