By ED FINKELSTEIN
With an effort to destroy prevailing wages for the building trades in Missouri, the St. Louis Construction Cooperative has launched a multi-media statewide three-week advocacy campaign to urge workers to immediately contact their state legislators and senators to vote against any of the multiple measures now being considered to cut or eliminate prevailing wages.
The campaign includes a 30- and 15-second radio spot, an aggressive digital outreach program that includes targeted messages delivered with online content, email, Facebook and a website. It will run until March 19.
CUT CONSTRUCTION WAGES
Destroying the prevailing wage law, which sets a wage standard on projects with state funding, would cut the paychecks of construction workers, union and non-union alike, and encourage scab companies from the South to flood into Missouri to steal our jobs and bankrupt our good union construction companies, notes John Stiffler, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council.
To encourage and help everyone reach their appropriate senator/representative and even the governor, the Construction Cooperative has sent up a convenient website that will find your state legislator and give you a chance to send them a personal message.
In less than three minutes, you can help by going to protectmowages.org, enter your zip code and email address and with a click on “send” a pre-written message, or you can write your own message, will be sent to your specific legislator. If you’re on Facebook, visit and like their Facebook page and share their posts.
The website, supported by many groups and aided by the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters’ Regional Council and the St. Louis Construction Cooperative (formerly the construction industry’s PRIDE), outlines key reasons to protect Missouri’s prevailing wage law:
- Keep local jobs local – Prevailing wage ensures that firms that bring in lower-cost, out-of-state labor for the job do not outbid private companies that use state labor, keeping jobs local.
- Safer schools and public buildings – Prevailing Wage laws ensure our schools and roads are built safely, by qualified and skilled workers, not by out-of-state companies or undocumented workers.
- Less government assistance – Prevailing Wage allows employees to receive more comprehensive benefit packages and reduces reliance on the public sector for health insurance, retirement benefits and other forms of public assistance.
- Keeps Missouri’s economy strong – Cutting construction workers’ pay and allowing out-of-state companies to build in Missouri will have a direct effect on tax revenues throughout the state, hurting the economy. Out-of-state workers take their lower wages back to their home state, little stays in Missouri.
- Quality work, under budget – When you look at Prevailing Wage states, workers finish projects more quickly, more safely and under budget.
“There’s a lot at stake in the Republican effort to destroy prevailing wages, and it’s the workers of Missouri that will pay a terrible price. We urge every construction worker to take five minutes, fill out the form or make several calls to their legislators and urge them to vote against ANY effort to gut or kill prevailing wages,” added Stiffler.
True impact of killing prevailing wage
The true impact of repealing the prevailing wage law is staggering.
In a 2016 study, The Adverse Economic Impact of the Repeal of the Prevailing Wage Law in Missouri, Dr. Michael Kelsay of the University of Missouri - Kansas City, updating a previous 2011 study, finds that repealing Missouri’s Prevailing Wage law would:
- Not result in any cost savings in school construction costs as alleged by the opponents of prevailing wage.
- Produce a loss of income and revenue between $225.3 million and $360.7 million annually.
The study discovered that real compensation packages, health benefits, and pensions are higher in prevailing wage states than in non-prevailing wage states.