Contact Information 

District Office
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 110
Lititz, PA 17543
Phone:  (717) 626-1776
FAX:  (717) 626-4234

Capitol Office
51A East Wing
PO Box 202097
Harrisburg PA 17120-2097
Phone: (717) 787-1776


Part 3: To Stay Competitive, Pennsylvania Must Update Labor Laws
In the last two articles in this series on apprenticeship programs in Pennsylvania and my legislation to make our state more competitive, we have talked about how apprenticeship training ratios have created an uneven playing field for union and non-union labor, and how this impacts Pennsylvania’s ability to train workers for highly skilled jobs in need.

My legislation would make Pennsylvania’s economy more competitive, by lowering Pennsylvania’s apprenticeship ratios, to increase the amount of job training.

Specifically, my legislation would make Pennsylvania’s apprenticeship training ratio one journeyman to one apprentice. While the state establishes the apprenticeship ratios for each job, it is important to remember that a two man job only ever has a 1-to-1 ratio and in many cases, that is all you need even with a job with a job that requires more employees. Under my legislation, it is also important to remember that an employer can always increase the ratio of tradesman to journeyman if they believe it is necessary.
One of the concerns of opponents to this bill is safety. Some seem to be some concern that if you do not maintain a proper ratio of experienced workers to apprentices, there could be more accidents on the job. This claim however, is completely unfounded in data across all of the states that utilize a lower ratio. Additionally, my legislation would allow businesses to increase their ratio above 1-to-1, if it is appropriate for a particular task or field.

This legislation would rectify an uneven playing field in construction. Unions who have a collective bargaining agreement are allowed under current law to reduce this ratio—giving them a competitive advantage over non-union run companies, who are forced to follow the higher apprenticeship ratios.

If the state decides to move toward a 1-to-1 ratio allowed by the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, as my legislation aims to do, this does not mean an employer cannot increase that ratio as they find it necessary to do so.

The requiring of one group of workers to require a ratio while another can determine a ratio through a collective bargaining agreement gives one class of workers an unfair financial advantage. It is time to ensure equal opportunity in Pennsylvania’s apprenticeship programs. If Pennsylvania is to remain a global competitor, our apprenticeship ratios must be updated.

 by State Rep. Steven Mentzer (R-Lititz)

Representative Steven Mentzer
97th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Ryan Travis
717.260.6335 /

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