By TIM ROWDEN
[UPDATE: St. Louis County Executive Sam Page signed the prevailing wage ordinance into law on Oct. 24, 2019.]
Ensuring St. Louis firms and workers will have a fair shot at winning St. Louis County construction work, the St. Louis County Council has approved an ordinance requiring payment of prevailing wages on all projects using county tax incentives.
“Passing this legislation ensures that our St. Louis County workforce earns a competitive wage for the work they do,” said County Executive Sam Page, who requested the County Council enact the prevailing wage ordinance.
“This new law will prevent companies from underpaying workers just so they can submit the lowest bid for a project. I thank our County Council members for supporting this bill.”
County Executive Page signed the bill into law on Thursday, Oct. 24. Look for additional information from the signing ceremony in the Oct. 31 print edition of the Labor Tribune.
BENEFIT TO TAXPAYERS
In encouraging the Council to pass the ordinance, Page noted that while prevailing wage requirements may increase the hourly labor costs on a project, they can actually help keep the total cost of a project down by promoting better training, increased work efficiency and productivity with highly skilled workers.
BENEFIT TO WORKERS, COMMUNITIES
When Page urged County Council members to pass the ordinance earlier this month, John Stiffler, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building Trades Council, noted, “Paying prevailing wage, is not only a positive for workers’ paychecks, supporting their families, it’s a solid positive for the economies of local communities where our members live.
“And it will help create work for local contractors by keeping the out-of-state scab builders from flooding the county with low-paid, usually unskilled, labor in an effort to low-ball bids and steal what should be local contractors’ work that keep our members working.”
St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White noted that he and Stiffler have reached out to Page and County Council members to encourage passage of ordinances and rules that ensure the use of quality, trained workers and apprentices, representing the full diversity of the region on county projects.
“This is one step toward that,” White said. “Any job in the county that is getting TIF (tax increment financing) will have to pay their workers the minimum prevailing wage.”