The Prevailing Wage Committee and FRESC Succeed in Expanding Prevailing Wage and Training Funds on Denver TIF Projects
Following more than a year of organizing by rank-and-file construction workers, and FRESC participation in a broad stakeholder advisory committee, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) has adopted two policies that expand prevailing wage and dedicate funds for construction training.
Publicly funded redevelopment is not just a real-estate catalyst, it is an investment in jobs and communities. The Prevailing Wage Committee and FRESC commend DURA for adopting two policies that harness that investment to create more family-sustaining jobs and training opportunities.
The Prevailing Wage Policy applies Denver’s Prevailing Wage to trunk infrastructure on TIF projects. Trunk infrastructure is the kind of construction that is typically done by the city under a Prevailing Wage standard, and includes road work, public utilities, parks, police stations, libraries, etc. DURA’s biggest TIF investments are on large-scale redevelopment projects involving significant trunk infrastructure.
The Enhanced Training Opportunity Policy requires all projects to dedicate 1% of their TIF allocation to training. Projects receiving more than $20 million are required to develop a Training Plan. Funds may be used to provide craft training for existing workers, potential workers, or for small/disadvantaged construction business owners. The funds may complement a company’s existing training investments, but are not allowed to pay for training the company already provides; in this way the funds will provide new training that would not have otherwise been provided. Projects receiving less than $20 million in TIF may elect a payment in lieu, with funds going to a construction training fund or program.
Members of the Prevailing Wage Committee deliver postcards to Councilman Rick Garcia, September, 2006.
The Prevailing Wage committee is a grassroots organizing group made up
of construction workers from at least four different crafts
(International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Sheet Metal Workers,
Laborers and Carpenters), with staff and research support from FRESC.
Following the 2006 achievement of community benefits-- including
prevailing wage-- at the Old Gates Rubber Factory redevelopment, FRESC
organized the committee to build on momentum for a more consistent
prevailing wage policy on all subsidized projects. The worker-led
committee met with council members, developed proposals, and activated
hundreds of construction workers and community allies in support of
those proposals. In response DURA convened a broad group of
stakeholders through an Advisory Task Force on Diversity in Employment
and Contracting to examine the issue, appointing FRESC Executive
Director Carmen Rhodes to represent the interests of the Committee.
The Advisory Task Force developed and recommended the policies, which
were approved by the DURA Board in May of 2008.