December 30, 2009
PITTSBURGH, PA—Yesterday the Pittsburgh City Council voted unanimously to enact a prevailing-wage law for service and retail jobs in publicly subsidized development. The passage of this legislation was due to a strong coalition of faith, environmental, community and labor organizations, including United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 23. Workers in building and food service, grocery store and hotel industries will benefit from this bill, including thousands of UFCW members working in those industries.
The Pittsburgh Prevailing Wage bill will make sure that collectively-bargained wage and benefit standards for workers in those industries are maintained in publicly-subsidized development. Wage standards assure pay of between $10 and $14/hr plus health insurance and other benefits to all jobs created by subsidies of over $100,000 in projects of over 25,000 square feet.
“This is a major victory for working families in Pittsburgh,” said Tony Helfer, President of UFCW Local 23. “It means developers who take our money must promise to maintain the standard wages—and that’s good for everyone: workers, business, and our community. Service and retail industry jobs like these are the jobs of the future, and yesterday the City Council voted to make sure those jobs will pay enough to raise a family and benefit our community.”
Over the past five months, the Pittsburgh UNITED coalition of labor, faith, environmental, and community groups worked tirelessly to help formulate and pass this legislation, which will have a positive impact on the city’s economic future. They knocked on doors, called their council members, gathered petition signatures, and attended numerous council hearings.
“If my tax money is going to be used to build a grocery store,” said Marc Mancini, a UFCW member and local grocery worker who worked to get the law passed, “I don’t want it used to create minimum-wage jobs that would undercut what I make and create competition that could hurt my employer while not actually helping any Pittsburghers earn a good living.”