The Business Council of New York State, the state’s leading statewide business and industry association, opposes this legislation that would amend the Labor Law to mandate payment of prevailing wage on public works projects for work involving the hauling and delivery of aggregate supply construction materials.
The Business Council opposed Part FFF of Chapter 58 of the Laws of 2020, which imposed a prevailing wage mandate on public work in New York State. That law created a new system under which the payment of prevailing wage would be required if at least 30 percent of the funding (in aggregate) for the project comes from public funds and where the project cost is in excess of $5 million. The law also created a 13-member Public Subsidy Board to be appointed by the governor to issue determinations on issues of construction work. This new bill – which had been part of previous prevailing wage bills not passed by the legislature (S.1947 / A.1261) – would mandate the delivery and hauling of aggregate construction materials on covered projects. We had opposed the inclusion of hauling/delivery in past proposals, just as we oppose this additional mandate, for a variety of reasons.
Since the bill requires prevailing wage for aggregate supply deliveries and time spent loading and unloading, the bill will create a logistical nightmare for haulers and those who deliver construction materials. The very nature of this work implies split loads or deliveries of materials to multiple sites from the same trucks. The deliveries can originate in-state or out of state, as well as multiple job sites. This would create all sorts of bookkeeping and logistical problems exacerbating operations. Further, the bill does not limit the payment of prevailing wage to hours spent delivery load to works sites, but also “return hauls, whether empty or loaded.”
We believe this system may create legal problems under federal David-Bacon rules governing rates of pay for specific sites. Further, this new mandate could create problems with the yet to be appointed 13-member panel whose task may be to rule on such scenarios AFTER public hearings.
The increased costs would also bode ill for smaller companies and MWBE entrants into the markets who must now balance high cost prevailing wage mandates with complicated bookkeeping requirements that vary from job site to job site. This mandate once again risks increasing the cost of doing business in New York State as construction businesses struggle to open, or remain open, in an economy suffering due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For the above reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation.