Prevailing Wage News

The fight over prevailing wage isn't a classic 'right vs. left' battle

September 22nd, 2015

Michigan Radio
Photo courtesy of Michigan Radio

By Jack Lessenberry

Well, if you’ve been following the news from Lansing, it seems likely that the Legislature will soon vote to eliminate what’s known as "prevailing wage," which is the requirement that the state pay union-scale wages to workers on state construction projects.

Prevailing Wage Opposition: Lying to Michigan Residents

September 16th, 2015

Michigan Prevails
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Michigan prevailing wage supporters allege misleading sales pitches in petition drive

September 3rd, 2015

Photo courtesy of mlive

LANSING, MI — Michigan prevailing wage supporters are accusing paid circulators of misleading the public about petitions seeking to repeal the 1965 law, a claim that a handful of sympathetic observers are vouching for.

Statehouse Beat: Prevailing wage claims still don't hold up

August 29th, 2015

Charleston Gazette Mail
Photo courtesy of Charleston Gazette Mail

Evidence continues to grow that the claim, “without prevailing wage, you could build five schools for the price of three” is hokum on the level of “you’ll never find a better deal anywhere.”

The latest evidence is the bid opening for Ceredo-Kenova Elementary in Kenova, which drew bids from six contractors, including union shops still abiding by prevailing wage rates even while West Virginia’s prevailing wage is in hiatus, and by open shops, free at the moment to set wages however they wish.

Petitioners for corporate front group effort to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law lying to get signatures

August 15th, 2015

Eclecta Blog
Photo courtesy of Eclecta Blog

In 2012, the group Protecting Michigan Taxpayers was formed as a front group for anti-union forces who wanted to defeat Proposal 2 which would have enshrined collective bargaining rights for workers into Michigan’s state constitution. The group has been dormant since their victory in November of 2012 but was resurrected last spring to push a ballot initiative of their own, one which will repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law which helps maintain decent wages for construction workers in our state.

Over the past few months, PMT has raised over a million dollars, largely from three sources. They got $360,000 from the Michigan Freedom Fund, an anti-union group funded largely by the DeVos family.

The house that Gary built

August 9th, 2015

Midland Daily News
Photo courtesy of Midland Daily News

How many still remember, recite or read the popular childhood story about the house that Jack built with your kids, grandkids or young students?

Do you recall how each sentence in the popular nursery rhyme is an example of an increasingly deeply nested relative clause — and every stanza involves many other unrelated but completely interdependent people, places and things involving the house?

Prevailing wage gets it done right the first time, for everyone

July 28th, 2015

Photo courtesy of MLive

By U.S. Senator Gary Peters

Nearly a decade after the Wall Street collapse that shook Michigan's economy to its core, we are finally on our way back. The unemployment rate is going down, but we still need to do more to improve stagnant wages here and across the country.

Despite our fragile recovery, special interests are now pushing to repeal long-standing prevailing wage laws at the federal and state level. If they are successful, the result will be a double punch in the gut for working families and our economy.

Repealing prevailing wage law would create work force shortage, says Saginaw's Herb Spence

July 28th, 2015

Photo courtesy of MLive

SAGINAW, MI — At least one Saginaw business owner is not happy about the prospect that Michigan's prevailing wage law could be repealed.

Those pushing for a repeal of the law, which mandates union-scale wages on state-funded construction projects, argue eliminating the prevailing wage would provide significant savings to the state government as well as local school districts and other government entities.

Prevailing Wage means better jobs for Detroiters

July 25th, 2015

Detroit Free Press
Photo courtesy of Detroit Free Press

When I ran for mayor two years ago, I promised to work to rebuild Detroit in a way that provided a fair opportunity for all our residents. We are seeing early signs that our city is turning around, but the continued success of that growth depends on growing the number of highly trained workers to fill the jobs that are being created.

Michigan’s prevailing-wage law is a key part of our strategy to ensure that our success is lasting and broadly shared. That act makes sure the workers who build our public works projects are paid a fair and decent wage. It also ensures that our tax dollars go to a skilled, qualified and safety-certified work force, so that when we build the M-1 Rail, schools in our neighborhoods or the Gordie Howe International Bridge, we do it right the first time.

Dr. Dale Belman: Prevailing wage doesn’t cost taxpayers, it protects them

July 15th, 2015

North America's Building Trades Unions
Photo courtesy of North America's Building Trades Unions

By Dr. Dale Belman

Although it would be polite to characterize the current effort in the Michigan legislature to repeal the prevailing wage law a “debate,” it is more honestly described as a vigorous political effort devoid of thoughtful consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of these laws.

While the strategy for repeal appears to have shifted from the Capitol to a citizen petition drive, it’s worth looking at the scholarship on the issue as the effort goes forward.

Prevailing wage repeal is the wrong, and ultimately costly, choice for Michigan

July 7th, 2015

Photo courtesy of MLive

By Frank Manzo IV

Public policy choices have consequences.

Some can facilitate middle class job creation, robust economic growth, a higher skilled workforce and balanced government budgets. Others can have just the opposite effect.

To get it right, it is critical for lawmakers and the voting public to examine the facts, and make the most informed decisions possible, free of ideological bias and special interest agendas.

Group backing repeal of Michigan's prevailing wage raises $1 million for ballot campaign

July 6th, 2015

Crain's Detroit Business
Photo courtesy of Crain's Detroit Business

LANSING — A group leading a petition drive to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law has raised more than $1 million for the effort, campaign finance records show.

Protecting Michigan Taxpayers spent close to $342,000 from April 21 to June 29, according to a campaign finance statement it filed Monday with the Michigan secretary of state.

The group’s biggest backer, the Michigan Freedom Fund — an organization with ties to the DeVos family — gave $372,200 in direct and in-kind contributions, the statement shows.

Giving more than $348,000 was the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, a Lansing-based trade group that represents mostly nonunion contractors and is leading the effort to repeal the prevailing wage.

Study: Repealing prevailing wage will hurt Michigan

June 29th, 2015

Michigan Radio
Photo courtesy of Michigan Radio

One new study suggests repealing Michigan’s prevailing wage law is a bad idea.

Smart Cities Prevail and the Midwest Economic Policy Institute — two groups that support union-level pay and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects — say their research shows overturning the prevailing wage would have “quite profound impacts” on Michigan’s economy.

Poll: Voters want to keep prevailing wage law

June 16th, 2015

The Detroit News
Photo courtesy of The Detroit News

A group seeking to repeal Michigan's 50-year-old prevailing wage law might find its biggest support among Republican state lawmakers: A new poll suggests likely voters want to keep union-level wages for government construction projects...

Push against prevailing wage law bumps into skilled trades debate

June 14th, 2015

Crain's Detroit
Photo courtesy of Crain's Detroit

LANSING — Inside the Capitol, lawmakers this spring debated whether to repeal Michigan's prevailing wage law. Outside, high atop the dome, construction workers were erecting scaffolding, preparing to repair damaged and corroded decorative features on the façade of the 136-year-old building. The $6.4 million project is the first such restoration since 1992...

Push against prevailing wage law bumps into skilled trades debate

June 14th, 2015

Crains Detroit
Photo courtesy of Crains Detroit

LANSING — Inside the Capitol, lawmakers this spring debated whether to repeal Michigan's prevailing wage law.

Outside, high atop the dome, construction workers were erecting scaffolding, preparing to repair damaged and corroded decorative features on the façade of the 136-year-old building. The $6.4 million project is the first such restoration since 1992.

Prevailing wage repeal is another attack on workers

May 28th, 2015

The Times Herald
Photo courtesy of The Times Herald

From Michigan’s “right-to-work” law and emergency dictators, to at-will employment, forced privatization, and anti-strike laws, labor unions have been under attack by Michigan legislators. Now that voters spoke their minds regarding Proposal 1, the Senate has passed a series of bills repealing the Prevailing Wage. Much like the federal government’s Davis-Bacon Act, private employers must pay a wage the same as the average wage of public employees...

Republican leaders ready to go around Gov. Rick Snyder on prevailing wage repeal

May 28th, 2015

Photo courtesy of MLive

LANSING, MI — Republican Gov. Rick Snyder opposes efforts to repeal Michigan's prevailing wage law for construction trades workers, but GOP legislative leaders are backing a petition drive to finish the job without him. "It's a top priority, and I believe we're going to get it done one way or the other," House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, told on Thursday during an interview at the 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference...

Michigan’s Snyder Clashes With Fellow Republicans on Union Pay

May 27th, 2015

Bloomberg Politics
Photo courtesy of Bloomberg Politics

As Republicans across the U.S. try to erode union power and protections, in Michigan they’re running into an unlikely stumbling block: Republican Governor Rick Snyder. The Republican-dominated legislature is trying to repeal Michigan’s 50-year-old law requiring union wages for state-funded construction projects. Snyder says the lower pay that would come from scrapping the law would send the wrong message to skilled trade workers, whose ranks he wants to boost as the state continues its rebound from the recession...

Prevailing wage supporters plan defense as repeal petitions are approved for circulation

May 27th, 2015

Photo courtesy of MLive

LANSING, MI — Construction trade groups say they plan to publicly defend Michigan's prevailing wage law in the face of a petition drive seeking to repeal it. "Let me tell you one thing, we're not going to take this lying down by any means," said Patrick "Shorty" Gleason, legislative director of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council...

Petition drive for prevailing wage repeal legislation could bypass Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

May 21st, 2015

Photo courtesy of MLive

LANSING, MI — A group fighting to repeal Michigan's prevailing wage law is looking to launch a petition drive for citizen-initiated legislation, a move that could allow it to bypass Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. Protecting Michigan Taxpayers, a ballot committee last active in the 2012 election cycle, announced Thursday it has filed proposed language with the Michigan Secretary of State. If the petition is approved for circulation, the group could collect signatures to send the measure to the Republican-led Legislature, which could enact it into law...

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has 'serious problems' with prevailing wage repeal bills

May 19th, 2015

Photo courtesy of MLive

LANSING — Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said Tuesday he has "serious problems" with prevailing wage repeal bills approved last week by the GOP-led Michigan Senate. Michigan law currently requires contractors to provide union wages and benefits on government-funded construction projects, such as schools, a mandate critics say leads to increased costs for taxpayers...

Mackinac Bridge workers: Keep Prevailing Wage Law

May 17th, 2015

Sault St. Marie Evening News
Photo courtesy of Sault St. Marie Evening News

ST.IGNACE- More than 75 workers in charge of repainting the Mackinac Bridge and local members of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council gathered Friday to urge state lawmakers to stop legislation to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law, which is now in the Michigan House after passing through the Senate. “Michigan’s prevailing wage law has helped ensure quality construction of our state’s critical infrastructure and fair wages for the hard-working men and women who build them,” said Mike Thibault, U.P. business representative for the Building and Construction Trades Council. “Doing away with prevailing wage will result in reduced income and health care coverage for working families. It will be a race to the bottom." ...

Readers rips Michigan GOP Over repealing prevailing wage

May 16th, 2015

Detroit Free Press
Photo courtesy of Detroit Free Press

The Michigan Senate voted Thursday to repeal the state's prevailing wage laws, even though the issue was rushed through the Senate after only one committee hearing Wednesday. Prevailing wage laws require that union-scale wages are paid on construction projects that use state taxpayer dollars. The bills now move to the House. Readers weighed in: It is truly amazing that our lawmakers can work with great speed when it comes to beating up on the working class, but fixing roads, not so much. They want to repeal the prevailing wage laws, which provide good wages to workers on state projects...

Senate votes 22-15 to Repeal Prevailing Wage Laws

May 14th, 2015

Detroit Free Press
Photo courtesy of Detroit Free Press

LANSING —The Michigan Senate on Thursday narrowly passed a package of three bills that would repeal the state's prevailing-wage laws after more than an hour of passionate debate on the issue, which was rushed through the chamber after only one committee hearing on Wednesday...

Michigan Prevailing Wage Repeal Bills Advance with Addition of Referendum-proof appropriation

May 13th, 2015

Photo courtesy of MLive

LANSING, MI — Michigan's Republican-led Senate is moving on bills designed to repeal the state's prevailing wage law, which mandates union rates and benefits for workers on government-funded construction projects. The Michigan Competitiveness Committee advanced the three-bill repeal package on Wednesday morning in a series of 4-1 votes, and it's possible the full Senate could take up the bills as soon as Thursday...

Prevailing Wage Laws: Why Are They An Increasingly Popular Target For Republican State Legislators?

March 11th, 2015

International Business Times
Photo courtesy of International Business Times

Republicans are on a roll when it comes to passing right-to-work legislation, measures that limit unions' rights to collect fees from workers. Not since the laws’ formative years -- the 1940s and '50s, when such measures cropped up across the South and Mountain West -- has there been such a flurry of right-to-work bills. But it’s not the only anti-union measure in vogue...

More Assaults on Fair Pay

May 8th, 2015

New York Times
Photo courtesy of New York Times

Lawmakers trying to repeal laws that ensure fair pay for workers on publicly financed projects should recall what happened to President George W. Bush. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, he suspended the law that required contractors to pay the locally prevailing wage on federally financed construction projects. At the time, a truck driver in New Orleans typically made around $9 an hour; an electrician, about $14. Apparently that seemed like too much...

Repeal Takes the Wrong Direction on State Prevailing Wages

June 10th, 2015

Engineering News-Record
Photo courtesy of Engineering News-Record

Indiana's recent repeal of its prevailing wage law—31 states still have them—is no cause for celebration from the public's or the industry's point of view. For taxpayers, such laws may add initially to the cost of public works, although how much is debatable. From the industry's point of view, prevailing wages provide union construction workers with pay packages sufficient for a middle-class life and retirement. With construction badly in need of more skilled craft workers, prevailing wages and a strong union sector provide a valuable standard for what workers can earn.