FLAGGER REFORM OF 2008 FAILS TO ACHIEVE SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS

By Bob Katzen

According to a report “Whatever happened to flagger reform?” by the Bay State’s Pioneer Institute’s Greg Sullivan and Michael Chieppo, the 2008 law that allows flaggers, instead of police officers, at some construction sites, has not generated any substantial savings which was the primary intent of the law.

Massachusetts is one of a handful of states that requires that the “prevailing wage” – used to establish hourly pay rates on public construction projects – be set at a level at least equal to rates established by collective bargaining agreements with organized labor in the area. Currently on federally-funded projects, flaggers are paid $43.44 per hour, a rate that is the 13th highest in the nation.

“The Catch-22 is that since Massachusetts law sets pay at the highest collectively bargained rate in a geographic area, rates for civilian flaggers are effectively set by the rate paid to police performing flagger duties,” said Sullivan.

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