Supervisors approve minimum wage policy for road project workers
The Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved minimum wage requirements for traffic control workers on privately funded projects on San Diego County roads.
Supervisors voted on consent to codify an ordinance, dubbed "Right-of- Way Done Right," as part of a required second reading. After a first reading of the ordinance during the Jan. 25 meeting, supervisors voted 3-2 to advance it, with Joel Anderson and Jim Desmond opposed.
Desmond on Wednesday said he wanted to register a "no" vote on the item. He previously said that while he appreciated the continued streamlining of project permits, it was "not the time to put more cost burdens on utilities that are basically going to be passed down to housing projects."
Desmond also said he wants to see workers paid a fair wage, but didn't think the county should dictate how other employers or utilities pay them.
In a statement after Wednesday's meeting, Anderson said he had "always supported the underlying policy and my first `no' vote was just on procedure."
In September, supervisors directed Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer to develop the ordinance, which covers forepersons and other on- site staff, and also features improvements that would expedite permit issuance, officials said.
According to information on the supervisors' agenda, the state Department of Industrial Relations "determines the general prevailing rate of per-diem wages for a particular craft, classification or type of worker by geographical area."
Hourly wages for traffic control workers range from $62.80 to $64.04, with contractors responsible for paying the prevailing wage based on the project.
The county Department of Public Works received input from labor organizations and business groups on the prevailing wage ordinance, according to the agenda.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who partnered with Terra Lawson-Remer on the minimum wage proposal, said in January that traffic control and roadway work is dangerous. He added that according to federal statistics, more than 800 road workers are killed per year.
In a statement last September, Lawson-Remer said the minimum wage requirement "will improve the safety of our roads, and help working San Diegans to afford to live and raise their families here."