By Shalonn “Kiki” Curls
Missouri Senator 9th District
The final week of the 2013 legislative session saw another fight over anti-labor union legislation, a heated debate over liquor franchise laws, and approval of a proposed constitutional amendment to protect farming and ranching in Missouri.
Senate minority members blocked a vote on another anti-labor bill that would have allowed government contractors to do construction projects without paying the prevailing wage. Prevailing wage is the hourly wage, usual benefits and overtime paid to the majority of workers, laborers, and mechanics within a particular area. At issue is a 2011 Missouri Supreme Court ruling that expanded the definition of “construction” regarding prevailing wage laws, meaning more projects would be subject to the prevailing wage. House Bill 409 would have defined “maintenance” as routine, recurring work that cannot exceed $75,000. Maintenance work is not subject to prevailing wage laws. My colleagues and I in the Senate minority feared the bill would allow contractors on public projects to bid projects at less than $75,000 in order to avoid paying prevailing wage rates to workers. Our state’s working citizens should not bear the burden of less-than-quality legislation that should benefit all Missourians
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