Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Fred Madden and Senate President Steve Sweeney, which would require owners of stationary sources involved in certain high-risk chemical manufacturing and processing to pay the prevailing wage and use apprenticable or otherwise skilled and trained workers when using a contractor to perform work, passed the Senate last week.
“Currently, the state requires contractors performing public works projects to pay the typical wage and participate in federally registered apprenticeship programs in order to ensure that these projects are completed in a safe and timely manner,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Through extending this bill to other industries such as those that are involved with potentially hazardous chemicals, we are working to ensure that this high-risk level of work is compensated fairly, and is being done correctly and safely.”
“Prevailing wage laws provide vital protections to workers so that they receive fair pay for their hard work,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “We instituted these laws in New Jersey for good reasons and this bill would extend the fair-pay standards already required in public work projects while making our prevailing wage laws more effective and more universal in their application.”
Contractors performing public works projects or projects performed by entities regulated by the Board of Public Utilities, such as energy or water utilities, are required to pay the prevailing wage and participate in federally registered apprenticeship programs. The state requires this to ensure that these projects are completed in a safe and timely manner.
The bill, S-972, would extend similar requirements to contractors performing work at facilities involved with hazardous chemicals. California and Washington have passed similar laws in 2013 and 2019, respectively.
The bill cleared the Senate by a vote of 24-10.