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Cole, Armstead issue statement on Prevailing wage

Charleston, W.Va. —  Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead issued a statement today expressing disappointment over the failure of WorkForce West Virginia to implement the statutory requirements of the prevailing wage law as passed by the Legislature with broad bipartisan support, and signed by the Governor on March 18.

Based on information provided by WorkForce West Virginia, the agency initially agreed on March 31 to use date from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the new prevailing wage rates as required by SB 361. However, in spite of the clear language of the new law, the methodology ultimately released by WorkForce West Virginia replaces the BLS data with a survey, which is advocated by labor union interests. 

“If West Virginia’s prevailing wage lapses on July 1, it will be the result of WorkForce West Virginia’s and the Tomblin administration’s unwillingness to follow the spirit and the letter of the law. Those charged with recalculating prevailing wage rates to more accurately reflect the rates paid in the private sector have decided instead to cater to union interests in the state and to put the interests of union leaders over the interests of the taxpayers of West Virginia. Their failure to implement the law as written is very disappointing,” stated House Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha). 

He added, “I am truly disappointed in the handling of this by the Tomblin administration. Any potential lapse in the prevailing wage has been entirely caused by the failure of WorkForce West Virginia to follow the law.”

Senate President Bill Cole (R-Mercer) stated, “Earlier this year, the Senate had the majority and the votes to completely repeal West Virginia’s flawed prevailing wage rate system, but in the spirit of compromise and bipartisan good faith, we attempted to reform the current system for calculating those wages. We’ve learned, sadly, that our good faith has not been reciprocated. The refusal of WorkForce West Virginia and the executive branch to follow the clear provisions in the law is why there will be no prevailing wage rate on July 1.” 

“I have been, and will always be, committed to protecting the taxpayers of West Virginia, and will not stand by and allow bureaucrats to serve up home cooking for special interest groups at the expense of the taxpayers. We will continue to fight for what’s right for all West Virginians, and to uphold the rule of the law,” Cole concluded.

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