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St. Petersburg Sued Over Hiring Requirements

A local chapter of a trade union is suing St. Petersburg, FL, for ordinances that it argues make it difficult to deliver projects on-time and on-budget. The ordinances in question are designed to give up-and-coming and “disadvantaged workers” a chance at a rewarding career. However, as one of our St. Petersburg construction attorneys covers below, ordinances like these can have a negative impact on the industry despite best intentions. 

In the Hopes of Expanding Career Opportunities 

The ordinances at the center of this lawsuit pertain to workers who may otherwise be excluded from construction projects. The first pertains to apprenticeship programs. In St. Petersburg, companies working on projects valued at $1 million or more are required to have 15 percent of total labor hours dedicated to apprentices. On projects valued above $2 million, another 10 percent of total labor hours is to be dedicated to “disadvantaged workers.” St. Petersburg construction law describes disadvantaged workers as “either a person who has a criminal record or a person who has received public assistance benefits within the 12 months preceding employment by the prime contractor or subcontractor.” 

Related: How to Remain Compliant With Affirmative Action on Federal Construction Projects

As reported by Florida Politics, the trade union in question argues that these ordinances exclude qualified workers, have already resulted in a delay, and are cost-prohibitive. Of note, they argue that the ordinances require companies to pay a higher minimum wage due to the Davis-Bacon Act. The trade union further argues that Florida law prohibits agencies from placing restrictions on the bidding process like those mentioned above. Whether or not their argument proves effective remains to be seen. 

Related: Do Prevailing Wage Laws Help or Hurt Public Construction?

Take Caution on Public Projects 

What is clear is that public projects, though lucrative, can bring regulations and costs that can be problematic for construction companies. Although we hope that lawmakers will have the industry’s best interests at heart when making decisions, they don’t always do. This leaves it up to construction companies and trade associations to take matters into their own hands. 

If your company ever encounters a similar legal obstacle while working on a local, state, or federal project, our St. Petersburg construction law firm can assist. Having represented construction professionals at all levels in the industry, we know what it takes to get ahead in this competitive industry. For a team that will always have your company’s best interests at heart, partner with the St. Petersburg construction attorneys from Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with one of our St. Petersburg construction attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.