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Legislators critical of new prevailing wage rates

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s new prevailing wage rates were unveiled Wednesday — rates that the research director of WorkForce West Virginia said are an accurate measure of the true wages being paid to construction workers on major projects around the state.

“I would say these numbers accurately reflect the going rate for wages for people doing this kind of work,” Jeff Green said of the prevailing wage rates unveiled Wednesday morning.

Green said an initial review of the new wage rates shows an overall slight decrease from the prevailing wage rates set in 2014, as calculated by the state Division of Labor.

“Generally, most of the wages are down slightly. Some are down significantly, and some are higher,” he said.

Comparing figures for Kanawha County — the only county in West Virginia that also is its own WorkForce Region — Green said just over 58 percent of wage rates decreased, while nearly 42 percent increased. Most of the adjustments were small, compared to the previous prevailing wage rates, with 87.5 percent of all classifications seeing changes of less than 20 percent, with nearly 69 percent of those classifications changing less than 10 percent up or down.

However, initial reactions from legislative leaders who pushed to revamp prevailing wage rates they believe were inflated were not positive…

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