Phoenix City Council to Address Prevailing Wages, Workers Urge Mayor to Support
Phoenix City Council has an opportunity to demonstrate its support for workers and their families when they consider moving forward on City-wide prevailing wage ordinance on Wednesday, October 6. Vice Mayor Carlos Garcia joined Councilmember Laura Pastor, Councilmember Betty Guardado, and Councilmember Yassamin Ansari in support of the ordinance and had the issue placed on the meeting’s agenda.
“Prevailing wage is the single most important issue for workers right now, especially for women and people of color,” said Aaron Butler, President of the Arizona Building and Construction Trades Council. “It guarantees equal pay for equal work by paying wages that reflect workers’ specialized training, specific skills and valuable experience.”
The vice mayor and councilmembers joined workers at a community forum this week to discuss the impact that a prevailing wage ordinance would have on construction workers and their families, and this meeting promoted their immediate action.
“It was a privilege to host the community forum this week to talk about this important issue,” said Israel G. Torres, a leading Arizona attorney and advocate for workers. “After years of conversations about prevailing wage here in Phoenix and other cities across the state, these four councilmembers sat down with a room full of apprentices and journeypersons and listened to how prevailing wage impacts their families.”
The City Council has four members who support prevailing wage. Mayor Kate Gallego, who has committed to support workers and working families throughout her tenure at City Hall and on the campaign trail, remains the swing vote on this ordinance.
Prevailing wage is already the law for federally funded projects through Davis-Bacon and Related Acts. It requires contractors working on publicly funded projects to pay all their workers, union and nonunion, the wage for specific worker classifications that prevail in the local area. This guarantees a family-sustaining wage for construction workers and prevents contractors from undercutting bids by using cheap, unskilled labor.
“This ordinance would also protect workers by codifying equal pay for equal work,” said Torres. “Women and people of color are disproportionately impacted when contractors cut corners and don’t pay workers the wages they have earned and deserve. Prevailing wage reverses that trend. It also establishes apprenticeship programs, which guarantees high-quality work for the city and gives young people a path to the middle class.”
Many states and cities have adopted similar policies that not only reflect the federal law but also protect workers by establishing local hire and quality training guidelines. The Phoenix ordinance would take the same standards that the U.S. Department of Labor has used since 1931 and apply them to city projects.
Then-Councilmember Gallego pledged to support wages and workers throughout her campaign for mayor and received overwhelming support from workers.
The Arizona State Building and Trades Council, its leadership and its members from 15 affiliate unions ask Mayor Gallego to keep her promise to working families and support a prevailing wage ordinance.