Phoenix council repeals wage boost

Members feared fallout over 4-week-old decision

By Taylor Seely || The Arizona Republic 

Construction workers hired for city projects in Phoenix will not be guaranteed pay rates similar to others who do comparable work in the area, after the City Council repealed its prevailing wage rule that passed just four weeks prior — a vote with political and human implications.

A potential prevailing wage ordinance is still possible late this year, though.

The council voted 6-3 for the repeal, with Councilmembers Betty Guardado, Laura Pastor and Yassamin Ansari voting no. In a separate vote, the council voted 7-2 to direct staff to research the issue and return with a new ordinance for consideration by the end of the year. Councilmembers Ann O’Brien and Jim Waring voted no.

Several council members who repealed the rule said they supported fair wages but took issue with how the prevailing wage ordinance was passed in March. Those who opposed repeal said they preferred to delay the ordinance’s implementation, an option they thought could give staff time to plan for its impacts without running the risk of losing the ordinance altogether.

The votes to repeal prevailing wage and try again later came after former Councilmembers Carlos Garcia and Sal DiCiccio, who helped pass the initial ordinance, were replaced, and after the Goldwater Institute and Phoenix Chamber of Commerce sent letters to the council encouraging the repeal and hinting at a lawsuit.


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