Prevailing wage rates will be paid in Joplin rebuild … for now
CITY, Mo. -- Contractors rebuilding low income housing units in Joplin will be required to pay federal prevailing wage rates.
The issue of construction worker pay has been a concern of Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder who sought to have the Missouri Housing Development Commission grant an exception to the prevailing wage rule during a meeting Friday in Columbia. Kinder’s motion died without a second.
Kinder and other community leaders in and around Joplin opposed new housing commission rules that require workers on state-subsidized projects to be paid the federal prevailing wage used on federally funded public works projects. Kinder argues that provision will slow reconstruction work.
Kinder said MHDC’s wage requirements on residential projects will drive up construction costs in Joplin, resulting in fewer homes being built and reducing the quality of construction.
“I am extremely disappointed at the action by the MHDC and the deception by the Nixon administration that this change would somehow delay these projects,” Kinder said.
Kinder’s motion was opposed by building trade unions.
“I applaud the MHDC’s decision to maintain prevailing wage requirements for affordable housing projects in Missouri,” said Gary Elliott of the Eastern Missouri Laborers’ District Council in a prepared statement after the commission decision. “Strong wages create strong communities, especially in a place like Joplin that has already been through so much.”
But this may not be the end of the prevailing wage fight. Earlier this
month, the leader of the Missouri Senate, Robert Mayer, R-Dexter,
prefiled a piece of legislation that would suspend prevailing wage
requirements in state disaster areas for five years