One of the huge problems that Pennsylvania skilled workers and contractors are facing today is the number of businesses that bring in out-of-state contractors and workers, with the result that our area’s standard wages and benefits packages are not being upheld. These workers do very little to help stimulate the local economy when most of the dollars are spent back in their home states or countries. We need to police construction projects here in Pennsylvania through local to state-level agencies.
A few ways to address this might be as follows;
1. All contractors wishing to perform projects in Pennsylvania must be registered through the state.
2. Registration fees will be charged to all out-of-state contractors while Pennsylvania contractors’ fees shall be waived.
3. All projects will keep certified payrolls on all employees.
4. All employees shall be legal U.S. citizens.
5. Employers will maintain our prevailing wage threshold.
6. As a community, we need to let the businesses know that we will not shop at establishments that do not use our local skilled work forces and local contractors.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation already has some of these guidelines, but we need to watch more closely. Labor and Industry needs to increase its forces to check wages and legal citizenship on construction projects.
Having more than 30 years in the construction industry, I can see that these are some of the items that need to be addressed to help protect our local skilled workforces and our contractor businesses here in Pennsylvania that continually pay taxes and spend money locally.
I have visited so many projects in 2013 and 2014 where many workers could not even speak the English language. Are these legal citizens? I don’t think so.
Supporting and standing up for our local taxpaying workers and businesses is so critical to a state’s economy and growth. Businesses and workers in Pennsylvania will continue to struggle or leave this wonderful state until some action is taken to protect them and our communities.
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