Councilwoman Fullilove hopes for more local workers on job sites - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Councilwoman Fullilove hopes for more local workers on job sites

(WMC-TV) - With construction to convert the Pyramid into a Bass Pro Shops scheduled to begin next month, one Memphis City Council member demanded local contractors do most of the work.

Thursday, Councilwoman Janis Fullilove said she is drawing up an ordinance and a resolution hoping to impact job sites, including the upcoming construction at the Pyramid.

A group of local contractors gathered at the base of the Pyramid Thursday to criticize the atmosphere surrounding construction labor and to request city leaders change local regulations before the conversion begins.

"We have good contractors who pay good wages and good benefits and they can't compete anymore," said Frank Rogers with Plumbers Local 17.

"It's just not fair what's happening," said Fullilove.  "We have so many people out of work here in Memphis.  We have so many trained and skilled individuals who are sitting at home every day."

Fullilove said she proposed a city-run registry for which all hired hands must sign up and get licensed.  The goal is to keep all job sites at least 60 percent local labor.

"We have unscrupulous contractors and subcontractors who are paying undocumented workers basically slave kind of wages," said Fullilove.

Without specifically mentioning the Pyramid or Bass Pro Shops, the upcoming project fits the parameters of Fullilove's proposal.

"There needs to be better enforcement," she said.  "On many of these projects, the city projects, pilot projects, the one that's getting this bond money and getting all those tax incentives."

Fullilove said she was told the city does not have the necessary manpower in the code enforcement office, but she remains optimistic.

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