The article in the April 27 Chelsea Record titled “Chelsea Housing shot down by Council in request to relax rules on hiring union labor” has many references to the states union labor laws. The Home Rule Petition being filed by CHA and Corcoran Developers was referring to MGL 149, the Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law. This law has many provisions,but the one pertaining to the wages was the focal point of the newspaper article. The Prevailing Wage is set by the state and must be paid on projects built with state finances. The bid process include union and non-union bidders alike. Contractors that bid these jobs must be considered Responsible Employers and be state certified. Union labor is not mandated under the law and some public projects are built under the Prevailing Wage Law by a non-union general contractor.
The prevailing wage law doesn’t guarantee union participation. It does level the playing field, however, allowing union contractors to be competitive.