Burlington creates wage rules for construction workers on city projects. What that means

·2 min read

Burlington construction workers have won new wage regulations.

The city of Burlington passed an ordinance update Jan. 10 that requires all city-funded construction projects that cost more than $100,000 to be carried out by workers who are paid at or above Vermont's prevailing wage.

The state prevailing wage for construction workers ranges from $14.48 to $41.44 per hour, depending on the specialization of labor. The state minimum wage is $12.55 per hour.

The new amendment is an addition to Burlington's "Responsible Contractor" ordinance, which also requires city construction contractors to provide workers' compensation insurance, have a responsible company safety program, and meet related standards.

Construction workers working on a portion of St. Paul Street in Burlington on June 11, 2019.
Construction workers working on a portion of St. Paul Street in Burlington on June 11, 2019.

The amendment was passed unanimously by the City Council after months of pressure from labor union alliances including the Vermont Building and Construction Trades Council and Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

"Ordinances such as these have been adopted throughout the country and have proved to be effective in protecting taxpayers dollars, ensuring the public only pays for quality construction projects that simultaneously stimulate our local economy," said Vermont AFL-CIO president David Van Deusen.

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Montpelier passed a similar ordinance in 2019.

"We know we will have to make significant public investments in our infrastructure in the coming years to address the effects of climate change," Van Duesen said. "Knowing that in Burlington (and Montpelier) such projects will be built by workers receiving a fair days pay for a fair days work is something for labor to celebrate!"

The new amendment stands in addition to Burlington's "Livable Wage Ordinance," which requires all city contractors to pay their workers an hourly rate of at least $15.64 when employer-sponsored health insurance is offered, and $16.66 when employer-sponsored health insurance is not offered.

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Contact April Fisher at amfisher@freepressmedia.com. Follow on Twitter: @AMFisherMedia

This article originally appeared on Burlington Free Press: Burlington requires prevailing wage for city construction workers

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