At the awards lunch today, Gil Sperling, Weatherization Program
Manager for the Dept of Energy (DOE), mentioned that the Dept. of Labor (DOL) is making good progress in discussions with local weatherization agencies to determine the prevailing wage for a new classification of worker, the weatherization worker. The Davis-Bacon legislation from a decade ago (?) requires that organizations receiving federal government project money must hire people at the prevailing wage for similar work in the area. The legislation is being applied to the funds coming through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, (also known as the Stimulus Bill) for weatherization efforts. DOL came up with a new classification of worker, weatherization worker, in order to help the states comply with the Davis-Bacon requirements. If the prevailing wages of construction workers were the standard, in New York, beginning weatherization workers would have to make $50 per hour! Weatherization agencies all over the country want to pay their workers well, but those kind of wages for beginning workers would wreck the budgets of most of them. So the new classification and prevailing wages will help agencies to pay a living wage, increase pay as workers become more experienced, and allow the agencies to live within their budgets. DOL staff are here in Indianapolis, and their listening sessions have been packed!
Also, Sperling announced a number of awards, including the Richard M. Saul Weatherization Lifetime Achievement Award. Saul is considered the "Father of Weatherization" and this year's recipient, Alex Moore, is of the same stature and is very well regarded in the weatherization community. Moore was instrumental in developing the Core Competencies for the National Weatherization Assistance Program, which describe the skills necessary from entry level jobs to trainers to administration. Moore was known for his enthusiasm in getting involved in practical training whenever he could. "He was very good working with people one on one and sharing his enthusiasm in a way that was contagious," says Sperling. Unfortunately, Moore past away about six weeks ago at the age of 60. His wife and two daughters received the award in his name. He is very much missed.