Pittsburgh considers prevailing wage bill
The Pittsburgh City Council is considering a bill that would require developers and contractors to pay the private-sector going rate, or prevailing rates, to building service, food service, hotel and grocery workers employed on city projects. The bill, sponsored by Council President Darlene Harris and five other council members, is a reintroduction of the prevailing wage bill that was vetoed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl on New Year’s Eve.
The original bill unanimously passed the council 9-0. “With too many Pittsburghers struggling to make ends meet, we must ensure that new jobs created with taxpayer dollars don’t undercut the going rate for service jobs,” Harris said in a statement. “Government should not be in the business of creating poverty-like jobs.”
Ravenstahl has introduced an alternative prevailing wage bill, that would ensure that past projects could not be constrained by the wage rules; prevent implementation of the prevailing wage bill unless Allegheny County also adopted such legislation; allow flexibility for small businesses that have employees working in multiple roles; and would ensure that infrastructure would not count as city aid, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The bill also would change definitions of grocery stores, alter prevailing wage calculations to take into account differences between full- and part-time employees and eliminate a mandatory $30,000 fine for violations, among other changes.
Gabe Morgan, the Western Pennsylvania director for services workers union 32BJ SEIU, said the mayor’s version does not do enough. “The mayor is pushing for what he calls a prevailing wage bill that does not seem to create any good jobs for our city’s service workers,” Morgan said in a statement. “We shouldn’t let developers create poverty-like jobs when their projects are subsidized by taxpayer dollars.”