Associated Builders and Contractors of West Virginia (ABCWV) voiced its concerns over the newly presented methodology for the calculation of prevailing wage rates in West Virginia after Workforce West Virginia released a summary of its report on June 1. The report, a product of prevailing wage reform legislation (S.B. 361) signed  March 12 by West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D), illustrates how new methodology will determine  forthcoming prevailing wage rates on state-funded public improvements.  However, because Workforce West Virginia failed to publish its new prevailing wage calculations by the July 1 deadline because lawmakers complained the methodology ran afoul of legislative intent, the state is currently without a prevailing wage for state-funded projects. 

Workforce West Virginia presented the newly created methodology to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance on June 8. The committee and lawmakers raised concerns that the implementation of this methodology was developed and executed in a manner inconsistent with the intent of the law itself. Lawmakers voted down a motion to extend the deadline to publish the new prevailing rate of wages to September 30 and extended their efforts by adding an internal review of how the methodology was created along with providing formal correspondence expressing lawmakers’ concerns that Workforce West Virginia is not complying with the statute. 

“ABCWV is disappointed in Workforce West Virginia’s omission of several integral components that were added to the new prevailing wage methodology to produce an accurate market wage rate,” said ABCWV President Bryan Hoylman in a June 9 statement. “The bill carefully crafted by the legislature during this year’s legislative session required the inclusion of essential U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data and removed a government mandated fringe benefit from the prevailing wage methodology in order to calculate a true prevailing wage in West Virginia.  “Unfortunately, Workforce West Virginia has not included valuable BLS data and kept a mandated fringe benefit as a part of the calculation, contrary to the intent of the law. By directly ignoring key portions of the carefully balanced new methodology, Workforce West Virginia is threatening the hard work of the legislature and outside stakeholders, including ABCWV, in developing methodology to establish a true prevailing wage.”

ABC WV also stated that although they were pleased with the outcome of the committee meeting, they recognize that there is significant work yet to be done and will weigh every available option available to ensure that government doesn’t get in the way of this historic reform.

West Virginia is one of 32 states with a prevailing wage law in place for contractors who do business with the state. Indiana fully repealed its prevailing wage law earlier this year and several other states recently enacted or are currently considering significant reform or repeal to their existing prevailing wage law.