Editor’s note: Since there was no Bluegrass Beacon column last week, we are offering the following submitted column by Dr. Bill Smith, a dermatologist and friend of liberty from Madisonville. The views represent those of the author.
The federal Prevailing Wage Law was established to protect local wages from the potential negative impact of the competitive bidding process used by the government to select contractors for public works projects. It was never intended, as some have claimed, to “level the playing field” between union and non-union contractors bidding for these contracts.
The Kentucky Prevailing Wage Law was adopted nine years after the federal law, and requires contractors to use the prevailing wage rates established by the Labor Cabinet for public works projects that exceed $250,000.
The Kentucky Labor Cabinet has been given the authority to implement this law, and has used this authority to impose prevailing wage rates that are based on union wages rather than those paid to the majority of workers in each region. The substitution of union wages for legitimate prevailing wages dramatically increases the cost of labor for all major public works projects, and is a direct violation of the existing Kentucky prevailing wage statutes.