By WES DUPLANTIER
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A top Missouri Senate leader says the state labor department is improperly working with unions to manipulate wages paid on public works projects.
The state calculates an annual "prevailing wage" for various construction trades in each county based on surveys of wages already paid on jobs.
Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, a Republican from Dexter, said Wednesday that state bureaucrats and labor unions had engaged in what he called "collusion."
He distributed copies of emails appearing to show union staff asking state labor department officials how many hours had been reported by non-union contractors in various counties.
Mayer says unions use that information to submit enough hours on each survey to unfairly boost wage rates.
A labor department spokeswoman says that information is a public record anyone can request.