‘Prevent companies from low-balling proposals at the expense of their workers’
To ensure St. Louis firms and workers have a fair shot at winning St. Louis County construction work, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page has recommended that the St. Louis County Council approve an ordinance requiring payment of prevailing wages on all projects using county tax incentives.
“In St. Louis County, our workforce deserves to earn competitive wages for their work,” Page said. “Requiring contractors to pay a prevailing wage will prevent companies from low-balling proposals at the expense of their workers.”
The proposal was expected to come to the Council’s meeting on Oct. 8 if the draft ordinance is ready. If not, it should be ready for next Tuesday’s council meeting.
MAJOR BENEFIT TO TAXPAYERS
In a clear-cut understanding that paying prevailing wages is a benefit to taxpayer-assisted projects in terms of money being well spent, the county executive noted that although prevailing wage requirements may increase the hourly labor costs of a project, they can actually help keep the total cost of a project down by promoting better training, increased work efficiency and productivity, and retain highly skilled workers.
BENEFITS WORKERS, COMMUNITIES
“By paying prevailing wages, it’s 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,” said John Stiffler, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building Trades Council.
“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,” he added.
In a release, County Executive Page echoed the same sentiments: “Prevailing wage policies also help boost the local economy by promoting the use of local contractors and residents for projects, which promotes money being earned and spent within the local economy.
“Coupled with the country’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises policies, (prevailing wages) will help promote economic development and protect the interest of working families in St. Louis County,” Page stressed.