Phoenix City Council, Tucson City Council Pass Historic Prevailing Wage Ordinances
PHOENIX, Ariz. (January 9, 2024) – Both the Phoenix City Council and Tucson City Council passed prevailing wage ordinances within hours of each other Tuesday, Jan. 9, demonstrating their support for working families in the state’s two largest metro areas.
“This is a great day for Phoenix and Tucson working families and sets a positive example for all of Arizona,” said Aaron Butler President of the Arizona Building Trades.“On behalf of fifteen thousand union construction workers in this state, I want to thank the Mayors and City Councils of both Phoenix and Tucson for enacting prevailing wage ordinances, guaranteeing fair wages for workers on city projects. In an age of high inflation, it’s essential that cities and counties put workers first.”
“After years of conversations about prevailing wage, the Mayors and City Councils made history with their confident and sound decisions to properly compensate the workers who continue to build our rising and expanding skylines,” said Israel G. Torres, a leading Arizona attorney and advocate for workers.
The Phoenix City Council became the first in Arizona to pass a city prevailing wage ordinance just before 4pm MST. The measure passed 6-3 with the support of Mayor Kate Gallego and Councilmembers Betty Guardado, Laura Pastor, Yassamin Ansari, Kesha Hodge Washington, and Kevin Robinson. Effective July 1, 2024, the Phoenix prevailing wage ordinance will cover city-funded projects of $4 million or more.
Just hours later, the Tucson City Council led by Mayor Regina Romero unanimously passed their own city prevailing wage ordinance, which also will take effect July 1, 2024 for projects estimated at $2 million or more. Tucson City Councilmembers Lane Santa Cruz, Kevin Dahl, Nikki Lee, Steve Kozachik and Richard Fimbres voted for the prevailing wage ordinance; Councilmember Paul Cunningham was absent.
Prevailing wage is already the law for federally funded projects through Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, requiring 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.
“These prevailing wage ordinances 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 workers have earned and deserve. Prevailing wage reverses that trend. It also establishes apprenticeship programs, which guarantees high-quality work for the cities 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. Both the Phoenix and Tucson ordinances set the same standards that the U.S. Department of Labor has used since 1931.
Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes set the stage for these ordinances with her June 15, 2023 opinion that cities have the authority to regulate minimum wages, including the ability to require that employees of contractors on public works be paid not less than the prevailing wage.
The Arizona State Building and Trades Council, its leadership and its members from 15 affiliate unions thank Phoenix Mayor Gallego, Tucson Mayor Romero and the city councilmembers for securing a brighter future for workers and their families.
For more information, please contact Luke Douglas, Government Relations Director, Torres Consulting & Law Group, at email@example.com or 971-272-7150.