April 22, 2016 – The State Senate has approved legislation, sponsored by the State Building and Construction Trades Council, to protect workers’ wages by requiring that employees give their consent before funds are deducted from their paychecks to promote “industry advancement programs,” that may not serve the workers’ best interests.
Employers label these deductions as benefits so that they may be credited against the legally required prevailing wage on public works projects. But sometimes industry advancement funds are used to support activities that are contrary to the interests of workers, such as efforts to reduce the very prevailing wage that the worker is paid, and to weaken health and safety standards.
Senate Bill 954 by Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) clarifies that such deductions must actually be authorized by the worker only through a collective bargaining agreement, to ensure that any funds taken from workers’ checks are truly used in the best interests of workers.
SBCTC President Robbie Hunter commented: “This bill is essential to protect construction workers on public works projects by ensuring they receive their rightfully owed wages.”
SB 954 passed the Senate by a vote of 26-12, and now moves to the Assembly.