Keith Ensminger: Prevailing wages truly are necessary

July 1, 2013 

Your editorial about SB 7 (June 25) ignored some costs like health insurance, retirement, and a small fee for apprenticeship programs that are factored into prevailing wages.

The average take-home pay is around $25 to $35 an hour or $50 to $70K per year, certainly a middle-class income for skilled workers.

Most skilled trade people will not work prevailing wage projects all year long, so their income will be less.

Construction costs will not necessarily drop without prevailing wages, especially on large projects where the cost of materials far surpasses wages. For instance, a union contractor won the bid to build Children's Hospital in Madera. Without prevailing wages, gypsy contractors will return like they did during the Depression, beat out local contractors, our public buildings will be less safe, and local workers will stay unemployed.

KEITH ENSMINGER

Merced

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