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Building Trades’ Bill to End Wage Disparities for CA Cement Drivers Clears Senate

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By a 24-13 tally the California State Senate voted in favor of Assembly Bill 219, which closes loopholes that previously exempted some drivers of ready-mixed concrete from receiving the prevailing wage on public works projects.  The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) and was sponsored by the State Building Trades, the Teamsters, and the California Labor Federation.  The bill will now return to the Assembly for a concurrence vote on changes made by the Senate before it makes its way to the governor’s desk.

The drivers working for a project’s concrete manufacturer, rather than the main contractor, are the ones who weren’t receiving prevailing wages although both sets of drivers were performing the same task and using the same skills.  In a piece for the website Calitics, communications director of the California Labor Federation Steve Smith provided the following example of how the loophole plays out on a job site:

We’ve all seen a line of cement trucks preparing to pour on a construction project. Imagine that the first and third drivers are receiving a fair wage as required by law, while the second and fourth are receiving a substandard wage that makes it extremely difficult to support a family. Because of a loophole in the labor code, this isn’t just a theoretical scenario. It plays out daily on construction projects throughout the state. As a result, public dollars are used to suppress the pay of hard-working men and women without rationale.

In a statement, State Building and Construction Trades Council president Robbie Hunter praised AB 219’s passage:

“California recognizes that these drivers are an important, skilled part of the construction industry. All of them deserve to earn the wage that prevails in the industry. It shouldn’t matter who employs them. It is simply a question of fundamental fairness to working people.”

The bill was opposed by a multitude of industry groups and contractors, including the Chamber of Commerce and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association.  


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