Sunday, May 27, 2007


Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, submitted a bill that would let school districts opt out of paying prevailing wage to construction workers. It never got farther than a committee hearing.

Union workers are likely sighing with relief, but smaller school districts will likely be disappointed. Ruestman estimated that a school could get 25 percent more building without paying workers higher wages. If the bill gets submitted next year, then it will give both sides a chance to strengthen their cases:

~ Proponents of the bill, especially school districts, should explain how contractors can build a quality product without the quality-guarantee of which construction unions boast. These are publicly-funded school buildings that will house a community's children, so the highest quality is paramount. Having trained workers is a no-brainer, but how does a school district convince its patrons that only trained employees worked on a school?

~ Opponents of the bill need to explain why prevailing wage is so important. Not every school district can raise the millions needed to build a quality building through property taxes and bonding. Smaller school districts see buildings in Arkansas and Kansas -- built by the same companies that build schools in Missouri -- and wonder why they have to pay so much more in wages.

If any of you are in the business of building schools, the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations released the latest prevailing wage schedule. If you're an asbestos worker, you'll get $28.14 an hour.

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Joe if you would read the study you were given at the meeting with the Profs. at the globe you would gain a understanding of the bogus numbers Ruestman states. Plus if you reduce wages statewide you lower tax revenues reducing moneys schools would get, thus not gaining the savings that wouldn't be there to begin with!
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