My father is a journeyman Terrazzo floor installer and finisher with the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Union Local 1. He’s excellent at his job. His skills helped support my family for years. I’m proud of my father and extremely grateful. But, now I worry that this generation of working men and women in the Quad Cities will no longer be paid fairly nor be able to support their families.

Iowa legislators created a new program called the "Federal Aid Swap." Here’s how it works. Rather than pass our share of federal highway construction money to the Quad-City metropolitan planning organization, the Iowa Department of Transportation can now keep the federal dollars. They can then "swap" those federal dollars and send state dollars to fund Quad-City road construction.

So, why would the Iowa legislators do that? The answer is downright sinister.

By swapping the money, federal fair wage protection, as well as minority hiring incentives and other benefits, are removed from the construction project. In turn, this creates an advantage for low-wage contractors from outside the region to take work and jobs away from our highly skilled local workers and quality construction companies. This hurts our workers and their families, who are our neighbors. It hurts the entire community. When underpaid, unskilled labor comes here to work on temporary jobs they take their paychecks back home with them. This means that local businesses suffer and our tax base shrinks. It’s not smart. It’s not right. That’s why I stand with our local workforce and business community and say: "No Swaps."

Jeremy Pagel


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