Legislature Passes Prevailing Wage Law Covering Private Utility Contract Work

ALBANY—The New York State Legislature passed before the end of the legislative session last week the “Roadway Excavation Quality Assurance Act” (S4887, A5608), which “provides that utility companies or their contractors shall use competent workers and shall pay the prevailing wage on projects where a permit to use, excavate, or open a street is required to be issued.”

The legislation passed the Assembly on June 8 and the New York State Senate on June 5. The measure now goes to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her signature.

The bill, which was supported by organized labor interests, was sponsored by New York State Sen. Michael Geinaris (12th District-Queens) and in the Assembly by Rep. Karines Reyes (87th District-Bronx).

Prior to the Assembly floor vote on June 8, Rep. Reyes said that the bill will no longer allow private companies to circumvent state regulations by “paying workers who do the exact same job below prevailing wage, below living wage. We have private utility companies that take advantage of this loophole and allow for workers that are sometimes lower-skilled than our union workers who have the experience and capability to do this work and get away with not paying them benefits and prevailing wage.”

She continued, “This is about parity, this is about fairness and assuring that all workers that do this back-breaking work get paid what they deserve.”

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