January 26, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Lansing, MI – The first three bills introduced in the Michigan Senate this year would repeal the state’s prevailing-wage laws. “Since my days as a township official, I have viewed prevailing wages laws as an unnecessary burden on our schools and local communities,” Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, a Republican from the small town of West Olive, said in a statement.
Patrick Devlin, secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council responded that letting contractors pay less than union scale doesn’t decrease the cost of public construction projects, it just ensures that workers are paid less. Gov. Rick Snyder, who is normally anti-labor, has opposed previous repeal efforts, saying they could discourage skilled workers. Similar legislation has been introduced in Virginia and Missouri, and Kentucky repealed its prevailing-wage law earlier this month. Nationally, Rep. Steven King (R-Iowa) introduced a bill last year to repeal the federal prevailing-wage law, the Davis-Bacon Act, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) proposed suspending it in areas of high unemployment in 2014. Read more