WILMINGTON, DE – What happens when a local non-profit wants to invest $100,000 renovating a local museum? The county government rejects the help of course!
That is what has occurred recently in New Castle County when a local group offered to spend $100,000 on the historic Rockwood Mansion. Why? The PRIVATE group was not going pay a “prevailing wage” on the work. Delaware Rep. Danny Short and Delaware Rep. Deborah Hudson have penned an op-ed in response to Delaware’s system of kow-towing to unions at the taxpayers’ expense.
Yet one more method of the government queering the free market, prevailing wage laws are designed to encourage the hiring of union contractors. If non-union contractors are forced to pay union-scale wages (the “prevailing wage”), governments are encouraged to hire union contractors. There is no cost advantage to hiring a non-union contractor and non-union contractors don’t (as a rule) picket your job site.
In the case of the Rockwood Mansion, the project would be undertaken by a private group. However, the government owns the property. The New Castle County council and executive have decided that the prevailing wage must be paid even though Friends of Rockwood Mansion are a private, not-for-profit organization. (The state law only requires “prevailing wage” on GOVERNMENT capital projects).
So, what’s the result? An historic treasure won’t receive the renovation it desperately needs. When it does, the cost will be far higher than it would be without the burden of the prevailing wage law. And … Delaware taxpayers will have to pick up the tab rather than a group of private citizens who ponied up for the renovation to begin with.
God Bless the AFL-CIO and their lackeys in the Delaware Legislature.