Bill would strip Orlando of the power to make its contractors pay workers a higher minimum wage
The House Commerce Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would strip Orlando and other local governments of the power to make their own contractors pay workers more than the minimum wage.
The Republicans supporting House Bill 917 argued that it bolsters the free market economy and gives better opportunities for small businesses to get those government contracts.
"The local market, the free local labor market, will dictate what they gotta pay," said Rep. Brad Yeager, R-New Port Richey, who is sponsoring the bill.
The bill, if it becomes law, would apply to future contracts, not current contracts.
Opponents -- including representatives of unions and local governments — say it will slash pay for thousands. Rich Templin of the Florida AFL-CIO, a federation of unions, says those higher wages benefit local economies.
"More money in pockets, more money in cash registers, more money in local economies -- that's why these ordinances are in place," he told the committee.
Orlando requires its contractors to pay at least $15 an hour -- four dollars more than the current minimum wage.
In a statement, the city argues that local control makes sense to "ensure we maintain competitive and appropriate wages for workers on city projects."