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Legislative Memo

BILL:

A. 8168 (John)/ S. 3605 (Spano)

Support

SUBJECT:

Utility Workers on Excavations

 

DATE:

June 19, 2003

 

The Business Council of New York State, Inc., whose membership includes almost 4,000 member
firms, associations, and chambers of commerce, has reviewed the above mentioned legislation
and opposes its enactment.

The legislation would require utility companies and/or their contractors, who have been granted
the right (by permit) to “use or open a street”, to employ only “competent workers”. In addition
to this rather open ended and yet to be defined term (“competent”), the utilities and/or their
contractors must pay the prevailing rate of wages as required by the Labor Law.

We find two basic flaws with this legislation. First, the term competent is not defined in this
proposed legislation. The use of such a vague word not only lends itself to misinterpretations but
also implies that the highly skilled employees of the investor owned utilities of this state need
specific legislation enacted to regulate their performance. Second, the legislation also overextends
itself by applying prevailing wage laws to work projects performed by utility employees by
including them as a new section (28) under the Labor Law.

For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation and urges that it not be enacted
by the Assembly.