Prevailing Wage Controversy

1 decade 1 year 6 months ago Thursday, November 23 2006 Nov 23, 2006 Thursday, November 23, 2006 8:42:29 PM CST November 23, 2006 in News

Garay's Roofing in Columbia employs legal immigrants but, even if they were illegal, the AFL-CIO said they should be treated the same.

"They ought to have the protection of OSHA, the protection of pension guarantees, and any other provision that someone employed should have," Johnson added.

Employers' organizations, such as Associated Industries of Missouri, disagree.

"If they're illegal they shouldn't be working here, period," AIM President Gary Marble said.

As a lobbying organization for trade unions, the AFL-CIO says employers should not be able to take unfair advantage of immigrant workers.

"Employers are exploiting these people because they are starving to death, [people] who've come here because they couldn't make ends meet in their country, wherever that is," Johnson said by way of explainingwhy the AFL-CIO represents all workers, legal or illegal.

"At this time, along with women, the Hispanic population are the largest populations of people we are being able to organize," he said, "and they're the people who need organizing."

According to an April 2006 study by the Pew Hispanic Center, there are 106 Spanish-speaking immigrants enrolled in the St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program. Along with individual unions' support and the AFL-CIO, the prevailing wage law is another way to protect immigrant workers.

"It's basically the minimum wage rate that has to be paid to construction workers on public works projects," said Allen Dillingham of Missouri's Department of Labor and Industrial Standards.

The prevailing wage law covers construction on most state university campuses, with some exceptions. Construction companies working at the University of Missouri follow prevailing wage, but the state Department of Labor has no jurisdiction over construction at MU.

The department sets 115 prevailing wage rates for specific jobs each year, a wage for 41 job titles in all 114 counties plus the city of St. Louis. For example, the prevailing hourly wage for a cement mason in Boone County is $33.48, but the same job in adjacent Cole and Callaway counties pays only $30.30 an hour.

Critics said the law was designed to protect workers, but not necessarily illegal workers. However, the labor department only goes to construction sites to make sure workers are paid the prevailing wage. The department doesn't go to construction sites to check the legal status of immigrant workers.

"We do get some phone calls that there may be some undocumented workers," Dillingham admitted. "All we do with that is mainly pass it on to the authorities."

Marble said he believes more buildings would be constructed in Missouri if the state had no prevailing wage.

"To import trailer houses to take care of kids, is that a better quality than a middle school that could have been constructed for $500,000 less if we didn't have prevailing wage mandating a higher cost?" he asked.

Marble said Associated Industries of Missouri wants a wage based on the free market.

"The wage will be whatever an owner can entice a worker to work [for]," he explained.

However, critics said employers would take advantage of immigrants because Hispanics will work for less in the U.S. because it's still more than they can earn back home.

"We'd probably do the same if the tables were reversed and you had your family going without food and clothing, and you can go across a border and make more money and send it back," Johnson said.

More News

Grid
List
LINN – The “Wall of Fame” at the State Technical College of Missouri is littered with names associated with the... More >>
7 hours ago Sunday, May 27 2018 May 27, 2018 Sunday, May 27, 2018 9:53:00 PM CDT May 27, 2018 in Sports
COLUMBIA - Iowa, Florida, Michigan and Virginia are just a few of the home states visitors traveled from for the... More >>
13 hours ago Sunday, May 27 2018 May 27, 2018 Sunday, May 27, 2018 3:56:00 PM CDT May 27, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Salute to Veterans Airshow experienced engine failure Sunday morning. The four engine plane for the US Army’s... More >>
13 hours ago Sunday, May 27 2018 May 27, 2018 Sunday, May 27, 2018 3:51:00 PM CDT May 27, 2018 in News
OSAGE BEACH - A car drove through a clothing store at a popular shopping outlet on Sunday. 88-year-old Freida... More >>
15 hours ago Sunday, May 27 2018 May 27, 2018 Sunday, May 27, 2018 1:18:00 PM CDT May 27, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Salute to Veterans air show at Columbia Regional Airport today started off with some trouble. A... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, May 27 2018 May 27, 2018 Sunday, May 27, 2018 12:16:00 PM CDT May 27, 2018 in Top Stories
BRUNSWICK - Some might think small towns around mid-Missouri are fading away, but Brunswick is very much the opposite, thanks... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, May 27 2018 May 27, 2018 Sunday, May 27, 2018 11:15:00 AM CDT May 27, 2018 in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Alec J Potthoff, a 20-year old Iowa native was seriously injured after two boats collided... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, May 27 2018 May 27, 2018 Sunday, May 27, 2018 10:27:00 AM CDT May 27, 2018 in Top Stories
(AP) — Joshua Holt, a Utah man who traveled to Venezuela in 2016 to marry a woman he met... More >>
19 hours ago Sunday, May 27 2018 May 27, 2018 Sunday, May 27, 2018 10:02:00 AM CDT May 27, 2018 in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - In the midst of high gas prices on Memorial Day weekend some boaters have decided... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, May 27 2018 May 27, 2018 Sunday, May 27, 2018 12:46:00 AM CDT May 27, 2018 in News
BUNCETON- A new fire station is now ready for action in Cooper County. On Saturday, people gathered to celebrate... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 9:06:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - After a disappointing season capitalized by missing the postseason SEC Tournament it was hosting, Missouri softball will have... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 8:03:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in Sports
COLUMBIA- The neighborhood of Ridgefield Road and Wood Hill Road are on high alert after a series of break in's... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 7:18:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - Hundreds of cyclists were traveling from Columbia to Boonville for the 10th annual Pedaler's Jamboree. The event... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:59:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - In August 2017, Michael Stephenson moved into his new town home at Aspen Heights for the new school... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:43:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Open pools means play time for many people in Columbia but Parks and Recreation is still hard at... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:42:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Seven people die every day due to house fires. The American Red Cross is teaming up with... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:30:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
INDEPENDENCE - The 87-year-old Independence man reported missing Friday has been reported safe. The Missouri State Highway Patrol cancelled... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:29:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Thousands of people withstood the heat Saturday to support the U.S. armed forces and honor veterans at the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 3:02:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 73°
5am 73°
6am 73°
7am 74°
8am 77°