Convention Center and Prevailing Wage

One of the oft repeated assertions of unions in their advocacy of perpetuating the market defying law known as the Prevailing Wage act has been that paying union wages means much higher quality workmanship. That argument has been debunked by a thorough study from the Ohio legislature that examined prevailing wage projects and market wage projects. Overwhelmingly, respondents indicated they detected no quality differences in workmanship.

The new Convention Center in Pittsburgh, a prevailing wage project, has had a number of incidents related to work quality, specifically roof leaks. So bad were the leaks that the Sports and Exhibition Authority has had to sue installers to recover extensive repair costs.

The point is that to get the Center built, workers earned wages and benefits that were as much 30 to 40 percent above market wages. Those costs added tens of millions of dollars to the cost of the overall project. Costs Pennsylvania and local taxpayers were forced to pay.

This madness needs to be stopped. It will require legislative courage, but it must be done. Pennsylvania taxpayers and non-union construction workers deserve better.