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May
2015
21

For Pete’s Sake: Another Pro-Worker Law, This Time for Apprentices, Enacted in FL’s Sunshine City

St. Pete's new city pier will now have an apprenticeship mandate

St. Pete’s new city pier will now have an apprenticeship mandate


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In Florida, the St. Petersburg City Council has approved a mandatory apprenticeship program for public works projects with a price tag of more than $2 million.  The program replaces a voluntary apprenticeship program that had failed. 

The council also lowered the threshold to trigger the apprenticeship program. It was previously set at an astronomical $10 million.  

Speaking to The Tampa Bay Times, Mayor Rick Kriseman said he wants financial incentives to kick in for employers only if they can hire apprentices for 20 percent of the work on a publicly funded project.  “It seems to me if they’re going to get an incentive they should be doing more than they’re required to do,” he said.

Council member Karl Nurse said he believes training skilled workers is crucial for the region:

“All blue-collar skilled jobs have too many people with gray hair in it,” he said. “We need to bring young people in to get trained. We made a mistake in America where we said you go to college or you’re poor.”

The change in threshold applies the apprenticeship ordinance to more projects, including the glorious new city pier, a new police headquarters, and the expansion of the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant.  

The move is the latest by the St. Petersburg City Council to improve conditions for workers in the city.  In April, the city became the first in Florida to enact a comprehensive wage theft ordinance>/a>.  Their innovative law allows workers to file claims with the city rather than having to hire a lawyer and enter the legal system.  It is believed that making the system easier to navigate will result in more workers stepping forward when they are victims of wage theft. Companies, too, will be less likely to engage in wage theft because there will be more serious repercussions.

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One Comment on “For Pete’s Sake: Another Pro-Worker Law, This Time for Apprentices, Enacted in FL’s Sunshine City”

  1. Congratulations to all of the people of St. Petersburg on electing such an enlightened and concerned group of people. I have seen the inclusion of apprenticeship goals on public works projects do wonders for a community and the people living there. I have seen an increase in quality workmanship due to the structured educational requirements placed on apprentices. Also, a great number of men and women who other wise may have not been able to gain enough employment to provide for their families while making the reduced wage paid to apprentices have been able to finish the program, become journey level workers and take care of their families. Great job!!

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