BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.17.127 pertaining to prevailing wage rates for public works projects
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On November 13, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., the Department of Labor and Industry (department) will hold a public hearing via remote conferencing to consider the proposed amendment of the above-stated rule. Because there currently exists a state of emergency in Montana due to the public health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, there will be no in-person hearing. Interested parties may access the remote conferencing platform in the following ways:
(a) Join Zoom Meeting: https://mt-gov.zoom.us/j/92445357339?pwd=M1drNUlhVHRmUWJIZjRqVHdmU0hpQT09
Meeting ID: 924 4535 7339
(b) Dial by telephone: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 406 444 9999
Meeting ID: 924 4535 7339
Find your local number: https://mt-gov.zoom.us/u/abh98k3Mat
The hearing will begin with a brief introduction by department staff to explain the use of the videoconference and telephonic platform. All participants will be muted except when it is their time to speak.
2. The department will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this public hearing or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact the department no later than 5:00 p.m., on October 30, 2020, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact the Data Management Unit, Employment Relations Division, Department of Labor and Industry, Attn: Mike Smith, P.O. Box 201503, Helena, MT 59620-1503; telephone (406) 444-1741; fax (406) 444-4140; TDD (406) 444-5549; or e-mail MSmith3@mt.gov.
3. The rule as proposed to be amended provides as follows, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:
24.17.127 ADOPTION OF STANDARD PREVAILING RATE OF WAGES
(1) through (1)(d) remain the same.
(e) The current building construction services rates are contained in the
2020 2021 version of the "Montana Prevailing Wage Rates for Building Construction Services" publication.
(f) The current nonconstruction services rates are contained in the
2020 2021 version of the "Montana Prevailing Wage Rates for Nonconstruction Services" publication.
(g) The current heavy construction services rates are contained in the
2020 2021 version of the "Montana Prevailing Wage Rates for Heavy Construction Services" publication.
(h) The current highway construction services rates are contained in the
2020 2021 version of the "Montana Prevailing Wage Rates for Highway Construction Services" publication.
(2) and (3) remain the same.
AUTH: 2-4-307, 18-2-409, 18-2-431, MCA
IMP: 18-2-401, 18-2-402, 18-2-403, 18-2-406, 18-2-411, 18-2-412, 18-2-413, 18-2-414, 18-2-415, 18-2-422, 18-2-431, MCA
REASON: There is reasonable necessity to update the prevailing wage rates for building construction services, heavy construction services, highway construction services, and nonconstruction services following the annual survey of wages that is provided for in 18-2-413, 18-2-414, and 18-2-415, MCA, respectively. The department surveys employers and applies the methodologies provided by ARM 24.17.119 through 24.17.122 to determine those prevailing wage rates.
4. Copies of the proposed 2021 publications, identified as "preliminary building construction rates," "preliminary highway construction rates," "preliminary heavy construction rates," and "preliminary nonconstruction rates," are available and can be accessed online at http://erd.dli.mt.gov/labor-standards.
5. A printed version of the proposed 2021 publications is also available by contacting Mike Smith at the address and e-mail listed in paragraph 2 of this notice.
6. Concerned persons may present their data, views, or arguments, either orally or in writing, at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to: Data Management Unit, Employment Relations Division, Department of Labor and Industry, Attn: Mike Smith, P.O. Box 1503, Helena, MT 59620-1503; fax (406) 444-4140; or e-mailed to MSmith3@mt.gov, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday December 4, 2020.
7. The department maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency. Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request, which includes the name and e-mail or mailing address of the person to receive notices, and specifies the particular subject matter or matters regarding which the person wishes to receive notices. Such written request may be mailed or delivered to the Department of Labor and Industry, attention: Mark Cadwallader, 1315 E. Lockey Avenue, P.O. Box 1728, Helena, Montana 59624-1728, faxed to the department at (406) 444-1394, or e-mailed to email@example.com, or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the agency.
8. An electronic copy of this notice of public hearing is available through the department's website at http://dli.mt.gov/events/calendar.asp, under the Calendar of Events, Administrative Rules Hearings Section. In addition, although the department strives to keep its website accessible at all times, concerned persons should be aware that the website may be unavailable during some periods, due to system maintenance or technical problems, and that a person's difficulties in sending an e-mail do not excuse late submission of comments.
9. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, do not apply.
10. With regard to the requirements of 2-4-111, MCA, the department has determined that the amendment of the above-referenced rule may significantly and directly impact small businesses. The proposed amendments will have an impact on some, but not all small businesses (those with fewer than 50 full-time employees). The proposed amendments directly affect the wages that must be paid for work on Montana public works contracts. The types of businesses affected are primarily those in the construction industry, but only affect those businesses that perform (or seek to perform) work on public works projects. In addition, there are businesses that provide certain types of nonconstruction services to state and local government agencies that are subject to payment of the prevailing wage rate. The types of nonconstruction service businesses that potentially are subject to the award of a public works contract are listed in 18-2-401(9), MCA.
There is no single effect on small businesses as a result of the proposed amendments. Some employers may have to pay higher wages as a result of changes to the prevailing wage rates; other employers may have a wage structure that is the same as or higher than the prevailing wage rate. Historically, some employers have stated that the prevailing wage rates are set too high, while other employers have stated that the rates are too low. In certain cases the difference between the established prevailing wage rate and the employer's customary wage rate may be significant, but it is unclear whether that difference will result in a significant change to the profitability of any given small business, as there are many other economic factors at play.
Montana law requires that prevailing wage rates be set following an annual survey of wages. There is an established statutory and administrative formula that establishes the prevailing wage rate for each work classification, based on the data and information gathered. The alternative to amending the wage rates is to not amend the rate, thus freezing the wage rate at the last-adopted level. Some employers would probably be adversely affected by the failure to adopt new prevailing wage rates. The department believes that under either alternative, some small businesses will be adversely affected by the selected alternative. The small businesses likely to be adversely affected by adoption of new rates are probably not the same as those that are likely to be adversely affected by not adopting new rates.
11. The department's Office of Administrative Hearings has been designated to preside over and conduct this hearing.
/s/ MARK CADWALLADER
Alternate Rule Reviewer
/s/ BRENDA NORDLUND
Brenda Nordlund, Acting Commissioner
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY
Certified to the Secretary of State October 13, 2020.