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County Executive Pittman Introduces Prevailing Wage Legislation

Bill, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Lacey, Pickard, Pruski, and Rodvien, sets basic hourly rate and fringe benefits for workers

Annapolis, MD (September 7, 2021) Tonight, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman will introduce Anne Arundel County’s first prevailing wage legislation (attached). The bill, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Sarah Lacey, Lisa Rodvien, Andrew Pruski, and Allison Pickard, is set to be introduced during a council hearing tonight at 7pm. The public hearing will take place on Monday, October 4. 

The prevailing wage legislation, modeled after the state law and similar laws in other Maryland counties, will set the minimum hourly and a fringe benefit rate for the construction trades working on County contracts.

“A hard day’s work should provide a worker with a fair wage,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman. “I’m proud to introduce a bill that I anticipate having bipartisan support, while helping lift up many of our hard-working residents.”

Anne Arundel County’s capital budget totals $430.2 million in FY2021, and includes $183.9 million in County-controlled construction spending. A prevailing wage law on County-controlled construction spending would increase wages and benefits for the construction trades and increase the market share for Anne Arundel County construction contractors. A prevailing wage law on County-controlled construction spending would increase wages and benefits for the construction trades and increase the market share for Anne Arundel County construction contractors. 

Most County-controlled construction spending is allocated to infrastructure, including sewer and water projects, and public works such as storm drains, streets, highways and bridges. As a result, much of the direct impacts from prevailing wages benefit local laborers and operating engineers. 

“The establishment of prevailing wage in Anne Arundel County is long overdue. Research shows where prevailing wage laws exist, there is also a boost in worker productivity, reduced injury rates and increased apprenticeship training,” President of the Baltimore DC Building Trades Steve Courtien said. “These are benefits residents from surrounding counties with prevailing wage laws have already been experiencing, and the residents of Anne Arundel County deserve to benefit from them as well.”

A study by Pinnacle Economics, Inc (attached), projects across the FY2021-2026 capital spending plan, a county-level prevailing wage would lead to a net increase of $34.3 million and 400 jobs for construction trades and other workers in Anne Arundel County. The local hire clause in the bill requires that contractors make best efforts to fill at least 51% of new jobs and new hires on capital improvement contracts and projects with county residents, helping  provide more opportunity for employment on county public works projects to county residents. 

“Adopting prevailing wage and encouraging local hiring on Anne Arundel public works projects is going to be a game changer,” said Thomas Killeen, Business Representative for the Sheet Metal Workers Local 100 and a long-time resident of Anne Arundel County. “We will be shifting employment on our county public works projects to county residents, which will have a positive economic impact on our local economy.”

Prevailing wage laws enacted in other states have boosted tax revenues without raising construction costs, decreased inequalities in the construction industry by closing the wage disparity between white and minority tradespeople, and raised standards for middle class and female workers. Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County have all implemented prevailing wage legislation, to the benefit of workers in those communities.

Residents can obtain additional answers to frequently asked questions about the Prevailing Wage legislation by referencing the bill’s FAQ Sheet, or by emailing [email protected].

“Prevailing wage legislation improves the lives of many of our hardest working laborers and engineers working on County contracts,” Council Chairwoman Sarah Lacey said. “It’s a needed step for our county, and I want to thank County Executive Pittman and his administration for leading the way.”

"Passing this bill - an effort that should clearly have strong bipartisan support - helps us provide wages at a level that many of our peer jurisdictions have already reached,” Councilwoman Allison Pickard said. “We need to make sure that our workforce is paid a family-sustaining wage for a hard day’s work."

“The prevailing wage legislation will help improve local hiring, giving our residents better opportunities for fair paying jobs in Anne Arundel County,” Councilman Andrew Pruski said. “I applaud County Executive Pittman for taking this necessary step to improve our County’s economic standing.”

“Prevailing wage legislation levels the playing field for skilled workers who have sometimes relied on state benefits to provide for themselves and their families,” said Councilmember Lisa Rodvien. “Higher wages mean a better way of life for our hard-working residents”

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