TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph V. Doria which will guarantee workers involved in any contract on public land a fair living wage was signed into law today by Acting Governor Richard J. Codey.
“New Jersey has a strong history of standing by our working men and women, and ensuring fair treatment for our State’s skilled laborers,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson, a member of the Senate Labor Committee. “With this new law in place, we’re once again making good on our commitment to provide fair wage and benefits to those workers who perform needed infrastructure upgrades on our public facilities. This law will serve to close loopholes in our State’s guarantee of honest pay for honest work on public projects.”
The law, S-2457, will amend previous statute to require that prevailing wages be paid on all construction-related contracts for development on property owned by a public body. Previously, prevailing wage was only required on projects paid for with public funds, but this law expands that definition to include projects paid for with private funds, but taking place on publicly-owned land. The need for the new law was brought to light in 2003, when a company leasing public lands, Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers, contracted for the renovation of a wing at the Burlington County-owned Buttonwood Hospital, but refused to pay the prevailing wage on the project.
“The situation at Buttonwood underscored the need to revisit New Jersey’s prevailing wage law, and ensure that the intent of the legislation was ironclad,” said Senator Doria. “We cannot allow private contractors to skirt the prevailing wage law, particularly when the work is done to the benefit of all of New Jersey. This new law ensures compliance, whenever a project is engaged on public property.”
The bill was approved by the Senate in March, receiving final legislative approval.