Legislation has been introduced that would impose sweeping wage and collective bargaining requirements on any employer, contractor, subcontractor, developer, tenant, or subtenant that receives or benefits from a state economic development subsidy or capital improvement of more than $250,000.
The mandates imposed on affected employers would include:
-Payment of wages of at least 130 percent of the state or federal minimum wage;
-For contractors, food service employers, grocery employers, and hotel employers, payment of wages fringe benefits and leave at a prevailing wage scale set by the Labor Commissioner and mandatory project labor agreements with unions. Contractors must hire through union hiring halls.
The mandates continue for the longer of 10 years, the term of the subsidy, or as long as the benefits are enjoyed. Employers are subjected to significant record keeping, penalties, civil liability, and legal damages
The Maryland Chamber opposes this bill because it would cause the forced unionization of many employers in the state and impose higher wage and fringe benefit mandates on a wide array of private employers related, even minimally, to state-funded projects. The Commissioner of Labor and Industry would be empowered to set wages and benefits for construction, building service, food service and hotel workers.
The scope of the bill is so vast that a state-funded road project would cause labor mandates to extend to employers located on a resurfaced street “as long as their benefits are enjoyed.” The bill would increase procurement costs on state projects and inflate wages and benefits for many private sector jobs beyond market levels.