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Letters, May 13

Support prevailing wage

My name is Drew Waits and I am a pipe fitter, steamfitter and proud UA Local 290 member who has lived in Southern Oregon all my life. My father and grandfather were plumbers and steamfitters.

My family has fought for fair and liveable wages, otherwise known as prevailing wage, for decades. I would like to see prevailing wage be protected in new development areas in Southern Oregon.

Economic enterprise zones (E-Zones) are certain geographic areas where local governments offer tax breaks to entice businesses to locate in their communities. These tax breaks can amount to tens of millions of dollars, and not surprisingly, these incentives can be effective in attracting investment. However, there are no requirements put on the contractors to hire Oregon workers at prevailing wage so that local workers can make decent wages.

There is a bill at the state right now, House Bill 2408, which would protect against out-of-state contractors who can undercut local area wages by employing low-skill, low-wage workers from out of state. Oregon should invest tax dollars in hiring Oregon companies and Oregon workers to stimulate the local economy and increase income tax revenue at prevailing wage.

I’m tired of seeing contractors bring out-of-state workers to take our jobs with Oregon tax incentives. I expect State Sen. Jeff Golden to do the right thing and support House Bill 2408, as it is written, and keep Oregon tax incentive jobs in Oregon for Oregon workers.

Drew Waits

Eagle Point

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