Caving to anti-union pressure, the city of Quincy, Massachusetts recently changed parts of their Responsible Employer Ordinance (REO) that mandated apprenticeship programs, health care and pension benefits for workers on city-funded jobs. The ordinance, which did a great deal to look out for non-union as well as union workers in Quincy, was trumped by anti-union forces looking to make higher profits at the expensive of the livelihood its laborers:
Solicitor James Timmins said the city will not contest a federal judge’s recent interpretation that similar provisions in a Fall River ordinance were trumped by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The 1974 law sets minimum standards for private employer benefit plans.
“We absolutely agree that when it comes to payrolls, health insurance benefits and pension plans, that a company sets those up internally and funds them internally,” Timmins said. “Therefore, we should not have that in our ordinance and shouldn’t apply it.”
Contractors bidding on the Central Middle School construction project were notified on March 7th that the following provisions had been removed.
Bidders provide documentation from the state Division of Apprentice Training showing that they have, within the past year, graduated and upgraded apprentices for each trade or occupation represented in their workforce.
Bidders provide, at their own expense, hospitalization and medical benefits for employees on the given project. The benefits must be at least equivalent to the ones outlined in the state’s minimum-wage law for laborers on public projects.
Bidders provide a pension plan for all employees working on the project.
The absence of these provisions will likely affect the $1.6 billion downtown redevelopment that Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch promised would provide good jobs for residents.