Growing and strengthening west Michigan's middle class
LANSING January 19, 2017– The Michigan legislature opened up their 2017 session with three bills intended to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage laws. Similar measures were
attempted and failed in 2015. Sen. Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) is leading the way on the repeal, as he did previously. In 2015, anti-worker groups pushed a ballot initiative that failed to pick up much public support.
The prevailing wage laws guarantee that workers on public construction projects are paid fair union wages.
Meekhof has made repealing prevailing wage laws a priority, despite very little support from residents or Gov. Snyder, who feels lowering wages on construction work would damage his plans to expand training for skilled trades.
“Since my days as a township official, I have viewed prevailing wages laws as an unnecessary burden on our schools and local communities. It does not make sense that our taxpayers should have to pay more for improvements to our school and municipal buildings,” said Meekhof in a statement.
Patrick Devlin is secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. He said studies have shown that the cost of construction projects doesn’t actually decrease when prevailing wage is eliminated, but workers are paid less.
“People that are making a decent wage are going to benefit the community. It’s basically the circle of life, people can, when they’re getting paid more, give back more,” Devlin said.