Montana Administrative Register Notice 24-17-350 No. 24   12/27/2019    
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                                        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






TO: All Concerned Persons


1. On October 18, 2019, the Department of Labor and Industry (department) published MAR Notice No. 24-17-350 regarding the public hearing on the proposed amendment of the above-stated rule, at page 1766 of the 2019 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 20. 


           2. On November 8, 2019, the department conducted a public hearing in Helena. Written comments were received during the public comment period.


           3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments made. A summary of the comments and the department's responses are as follows:


COMMENT 1: Several commenters from eastern Montana questioned the current number of dispatch cities.  Specifically, the commenters questioned why District 4 is the only district with one dispatch city, Billings.  Citing prior discussions with the department on this matter, the commenters question the department's assertion in a May 21, 2019, letter to the commenters that "Sidney and Miles City don't have a sufficient number of local contractors or the local expertise to complete the designed projects."


RESPONSE 1: The initial number and location of dispatch cities were carefully selected in consultation with a workgroup of contractors and unions.  Reasons for selecting dispatch cities at that time included, but were not limited to, the following: population, university locations, and from what locations heavy equipment operators and other specialty workers typically dispatched.  During that time there was also a push to attract and retain quality workers to the construction industry while construction contractors were competing for labor with oil field contractors.  The department determined that raising zone pay on public works contracts was one of the ways to address this issue and raise wages without raising wages across the board.  The department has the flexibility to establish up to five districts and to have as many dispatch cities as the department deems advisable.


The department will consult with stakeholders regarding whether additional dispatch cities should be established in District 4.


COMMENT 2: A commenter who represents organized labor opposes the prevailing wage rates for all building Group 2 Laborers proposed in the amendments to ARM 24.17.127(1)(e), "Montana Prevailing Wage Rates for Building Construction Services 2020."


RESPONSE 2: Participation is the key driver in whether the rates increase or decrease and by what amount the rates increase or decrease.  The total number of Group 2 Laborers in all districts reported during the survey period was 108, of which 15 (14%) were from union contractors.  The department has reviewed the rate setting methodology for Group 2 Laborers in all districts and found all were set correctly pursuant to ARM 24.17.119.


COMMENT 3:  A commenter generally spoke in favor of the amendments and the work done by the department to set the rates in the 2020 publications.


RESPONSE 3:  The department acknowledges the comments.


COMMENT 4:  A commenter questioned the inclusion of metal roofing under sheet metal workers in the "Montana Prevailing Wage Rates for Building Construction Services 2020" publication.


RESPONSE 4:  The department has amended the "Montana Prevailing Wage Rates for Building Construction Services 2020" publication to remove "metal roofing" from Sheet Metal Workers and moved it to Roofers.  The revision is reflected in paragraph 4 below.


            4. The following occupations in the "Montana Prevailing Wage Rates for Building Construction Services 2020" Publication, p. 18, incorporated by reference in the rule, are amended as follows, stricken matter interlined, new matter underlined:



Duties Include:

Testing and balancing, commissioning and retro-commissioning of all air‑handling equipment and duct work. Manufacture, fabrication, assembling, installation, dismantling, and alteration of all HVAC systems, air conveyer systems, and exhaust systems. All lagging over insulation and all duct lining. Metal roofing.



Duties Include:

Metal roofing.


            5. The department has amended ARM 24.17.127 as proposed. 


            6. The effective date for this rule is January 1, 2020. 







Mark Cadwallader

Alternate Rule Reviewer


Galen Hollenbaugh, Commissioner



            Certified to the Secretary of State December 17, 2019.


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