By Shelly Castorino, Trades & Union Staff
Most of the country was surprised when news outlets reported Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential election during the early morning hours of November 9th. Now that the sound of “President-elect Trump” is a reality, Trades & Union sat down with two local union leaders to find out how they see a Trump presidency and its effect on prevailing wage and the trades in our state.
“We want the best for our members and will work with any politician, no matter what political party they are affiliated,” was the sentiment of both Rich Sweeney, President of Ironworkers Local 399 and Kurt Krueger Jr., Business Manager, Local 322, Plumbers and Pipe Fitters.
Seven years ago, the union leaders adapted to a Republican Governor, Chris Christie, and have had success on many State projects.
“Trump is our president and we will work with him,” said Krueger.
“We support the local economy,” said Sweeney. “Which is why we support politicians who support the trades and the Davis-Bacon Act. (see box)”
“We put boots on the ground [during election season] to support the right people running for office who support unions and specifically, supporters of prevailing wage, no matter what party they are,” said Krueger. “We support Democrats such as Steve Sweeney in the Senate, Congressman Donald Norcross, and Assemblyman Lou Greenwald as well as Republican Congressman Frank Lobiondo and Tom MacArthur.”
Currently, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware are not right-to-work states. In 2012, President Obama spoke out about right-to-work laws and how they do not have to do with economics, but politics and the right to work for less money. And South Jersey union members do not want to work for less. If New Jersey becomes a right-to-work state, unions would need to cut pensions and wages.
“The middle class keeps New Jersey and the country moving forward, not the 1%,” said Krueger. “We are the ones going to Applebee’s, the outlets, local stores and paying taxes which is why it is so important to support political leaders who believe in the Davis-Bacon Act and prevent New Jersey from becoming a right-to-work state, which is in the best interest for our members.
Davis-Bacon and Related Acts
(Source: U.S. Department of Labor)
The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, apply to contractors and subcontractors performing on federally funded or assisted contracts in excess of $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works. Davis-Bacon Act and Related Act contractors and subcontractors must pay their laborers and mechanics employed under the contract no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area. The Davis-Bacon Act directs the Department of Labor to determine such locally prevailing wage rates. The Davis-Bacon Act applies to contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal or District of Columbia contracts. The Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage provisions apply to the “Related Acts,” under which federal agencies assist construction projects through grants, loans, loan guarantees, and insurance.
For prime contracts in excess of $100,000, contractors and subcontractors must also, under the provisions of the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, as amended, pay laborers and mechanics, including guards and watchmen, at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act may also apply to DBA-