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Letter: Prevailing wage expansion will end up hurting workers

Buffalo’s unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 5.0 percent. Rather than address this problem, the prevailing wage expansion currently under consideration in the state legislature has the potential to exacerbate the situation and further hurt the city’s working families.

If passed, the prevailing wage expansion would require any projects receiving public funds to pay union wages. What this means in practical terms is that private developers will be forced to lay off workers and shrink the pool of already-limited jobs here.

The ramifications for local workers are two-fold.

Beyond losing access to well-paying construction jobs and the benefits that come along with them, a prevailing wage expansion would also limit local, middle-class families’ access to affordable housing.

Ultimately, expanding prevailing wage requirements would only serve to hike construction costs, reduce job opportunities and hurt workers.

Clark Peña

Director of Advocacy

Construction Workforce Project

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