SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The county Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Wednesday to advance a proposed minimum wage for traffic control workers on privately funded projects on county roads.
Wednesday's vote, with Supervisors Joel Anderson and Jim Desmond opposed, was technically the first reading of the ordinance. Supervisors will consider the issue again on Feb. 8 for possible final approval.
Last September, the board directed Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer to develop the ordinance that codifies a minimum wage for traffic control workers, including forepersons and other on-site staff.
According to information on the supervisors' agenda, hourly wages for traffic control workers range between $62.80 and $64.04, with contractors being responsible for paying the prevailing wage based on the project. The county proposal does not yet include any specific salary figures that would be required.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who partnered with Terra Lawson-Remer on the minimum wage proposal, said traffic control and roadway work is dangerous.
He added that according to federal statistics, more than 800 road workers are killed per year.
"We're making it easier to get these projects up and moving," Fletcher said.
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."
Desmond said that while he appreciated the continued streamlining of project permits, this was "not the time to put more cost burdens on utilities that are basically going to be passed down to housing projects."
"I don't think we should be dictating how other employers or utilities pay their workers," Desmond said, adding he wants to see workers paid a fair wage. "How we do it in our house, fine."
Desmond said higher costs can lead to more job automation, as he has seen at local McDonald's restaurants that now have fewer counter workers.