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St. Louis Aldermen Authorize Prevailing Wage For Large Projects

Construction of the second phase of the Ballpark Village development, across from Busch Stadium on March 28, 2019.
File photo | Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio
The St. Louis Board of Alderman has approved a prevailing wage for workers on big projects that get incentives, like Ballpark Village shown here in 2019.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has voted to ensure that workers on big construction projects are paid the prevailing wage for skilled tradespeople in the area.

Aldermen sent prevailing wage legislation to Mayor Lyda Krewson on Friday without opposition. She is expected to sign the measure.

The higher wages would apply to projects worth more than $1 million that are receiving public money or incentives like tax abatements. Prevailing wages are set by the state Department of Labor.

The legislation is meant to give local contractors a fair chance, Alderwoman Sarah Martin said in October on the Politically Speaking podcast.

“We talk a lot about the city over-incentivizing projects in certain areas,” Martin, D-11th Ward, said. “What we don’t talk a lot about is, when we incentivize these projects, are our local contractors able to bid competitively against someone from maybe even out of the country?”

Ray Reasons, president of Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, said he expects the new law will mean more work for his members.

“When you have a level playing field that everyone is bidding at the same rates, then the quality, craftsmanship and productivity of the local will prevail,” he said.

The new wage requirements would apply to projects that issue requests for proposals or bids, or award contracts, 60 days after the mayor signs the bill.

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Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.