Living Wage ordinance delayed in St. Pete


A rally on the City Hall steps Thursday called for  workers hired by contractors and subcontractors to be paid $15 an hour by 2020 — the same as city workers.

A few hours later, after an appeal from the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce for more time to study the effects on local business, the City Council voted 7-1 to delay a public hearing on the measure for two weeks until Sept. 21.

Since 2015, Mayor Rick Kriseman has taken steps to raise the pay of city workers to $15 an hour  by 2020. The proposed ordinance will gradually increased contract and subcontract labor to be raised from $12 to $15 by 2020.

The union-supported coalition wants the city to extend the same wage to hundreds of non-unionized workers who work for contractors and subcontractors for city projects that cost more than $100,000.

“No contractor should be put at a disadvantage because they pay their contract employees a decent wage,” council member Karl Nurse said at the rally.

At the council meeting, City Administrator Gary Cornwell said the ordinance would cost the city about $400,000 a year in increased contract costs.

Chris Steinocher, the chamber’s president and CEO, said his group wanted more time to study the measure. 

“We get it. We understand the trajectory of this community,” Steinocher said. “I’m not sure we know the facts.”

Nurse proposed the ordinance after learning that contract workers who provided security at the shuttered Pier were paid $9 an hour or less. He later learned that city parking garage contract workers earned similarly low wages.

 


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