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prevailing wage

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After multiple attempts, Michigan’s prevailing wage law is now eliminated. The Legislature passed a voter-initiated measure today to get rid of the law. It requires state construction contracts to pay union-scale wages.

The Republican-controlled Legislature has tried in the past to get rid of the law. But the efforts didn’t go anywhere because they knew Governor Rick Snyder would likely veto any repeal bill. Snyder cannot veto a voter-initiated law.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-Grand Haven, says this is a win for taxpayers.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan lawmakers are expected to vote this week on a proposal to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law.

A 1965 law requires union-scale wages and benefits on state-funded projects. But last week, a state board certified a ballot petition to repeal the law. The question would appear on the November ballot, unless state lawmakers approve it first.

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State lawmakers can now vote to repeal Michigan's prevailing wage law. Prevailing wage requires the state pay union-scale wages on its contracts.

The Board of State Canvassers certified a ballot initiative today. It gives the Legislature a chance to pass the measure instead of letting the voters decide.

Supporters of prevailing wage say it helps people who work in the skilled trades.

But opponents of the law have been trying to get rid of it for years. They say it inflates the cost of government projects.

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Citizen-initiated legislation to repeal Michigan's prevailing wage law will proceed after the state Supreme Court denied an appeal filed by opponents of the bill.

The court on Wednesday said it was not persuaded it should consider the questions presented, letting stand an appeals court order for the elections board to certify the ballot measure.

The law requires that "prevailing" union-scale wages are paid to workers on state-financed construction projects such as schools.

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A petition campaign to repeal wage protections for workers on government construction projects has been halted. That leaves time for the Michigan Supreme Court to hear a challenge to the question filed by construction worker unions.

Patrick Devlin is with the Michigan Construction and Building Trades Council. The Supreme Court order came less than an hour before a state board was going to certify the petition campaign and send the question to the Legislature.

Construction area with hard hat sign
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A group of unions plans to file an emergency motion this morning with the Michigan Supreme Court. The construction worker unions want to block a state elections board from sending a question to the Legislature to outlaw state and local prevailing wage rules. The prevailing wage requires builders to pay workers union-level wages on taxpayer funded projects.

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A court says the Legislature gets to vote on a petition-initiated bill that would outlaw rules for how workers are paid on publicly funded projects.

Prevailing wage rules adopted by the state and some local governments in Michigan require contractors to pay union-level wages on taxpayer-funded projects. 

A group led by non-union builders turned in almost 270,000 signatures of registered voters to put the question of banning prevailing wage rules to the Legislature.

Do you have a right to have your name counted when you sign a petition? Or, can it be thrown out on a technicality that has nothing to do with you?

There are two recent instances in Michigan where, although signatures on a petition were collected, it’s unclear whether those signatures will actually be counted.

An excavator.
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A partisan split on a state election board has stalled a petition drive to outlaw prevailing wage rules in Michigan. Rules adopted by the state and many local governments require contractors to pay union-scale wages on publicly funded projects.

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A group pushing to repeal Michigan's law that requires higher "prevailing" wages on state-financed construction projects wants the state to certify its petitions without pulling a larger sample to review.

A ballot committee backed by the non-union Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan (Protecting Michigan Taxpayers) says it turned in more than 380,000 signatures for the veto-proof legislation. At least 252,523 valid signatures must be valid for citizen-initiated bills.

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Trade unions plan to launch a petition drive tomorrow to shield Michigan’s prevailing wage law from another petition drive.

The effort is a response to another proposed initiative. It would ban a requirement that contractors pay union-level wages on state-funded construction projects. That’s led by non-union contractors. They say prevailing wage drives up their costs.         

There’s a new battle in Lansing pitting business groups against unions and it could wind up playing out next November with dueling ballot proposals.

A group of trade unions will launch a petition drive tomorrow to try and preserve Michigan’s prevailing wage law. This is the law that requires contractors to pay union-scale wages on state construction projects.

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On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a tax incentive package designed to attract large companies to the state and boost job growth.

Snyder supported the legislation with an eye toward attracting one specific company: Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant looking to open a new plant in the Midwest. But that same day, the White House announced Foxconn had chosen Wisconsin, instead.

A petition campaign that collapsed in scandal last year is re-launching and some GOP leaders are concerned the issue could threaten Republican control over Lansing.

person writing on paper
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Two more petition campaigns were given the go-ahead Thursday by a state elections panel to start collecting signatures, including one to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan.

The Michigan State Capitol
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Pay rates for workers on publicly funded construction projects could be an issue this year in the Legislature. Bills to repeal Michigan’s 50-year-old law that requires contractors to pay union-scale wages on public projects were among the first to be introduced this year.

Republican leaders in the Legislature support the repeal. But Governor Rick Snyder does not. He says prevailing wage encourages people to consider careers in the building trades. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city officials will require contractors pay a prevailing wage to workers who replace the city’s lead service lines.  Though for a time, that wasn’t going to be the case.

Next week, the city of Flint will receive bids on a project to remove up to 500 lead service lines.

When the formal request for proposals went out earlier this month, it contained a provision that workers would receive standard union wages. But Wednesday, city officials proposed an addendum that the prevailing wage would not be applied to this project.

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The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments for and against local laws that require contractors on public projects to pay union-scale wages. 

The challenge to Lansing’s ordinance was filed by non-union contractors. They say local governments aren’t allowed to adopt local wage laws. 

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.

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A group called Protecting Michigan Taxpayers wants to repeal Michigan's 50-year-old prevailing wage law.

It recently turned in to the Secretary of State about 391,000 signatures collected in a petition drive to repeal Michigan's law which requires workers on state-financed construction projects to be paid prevailing union-scale wages. 

Flickr user Christopher Peplin / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Legislature has been discussing eliminating the prevailing wage law. The law requires contractors hired by government entities to pay workers at union scale wages.

The law has been in Michigan for a few decades and Chris Fisher, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, believes its bad for Michigan.

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This week in Michigan Politics, political analyst Jack Lessenberry talks about a new law affecting Michigan workers, a plan to fix the roads that increases the gas tax, the high cost of information, and government officials looking at the effects of the same sex marriage ruling.

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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.

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
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A bill that would end local wage and benefit laws has cleared the state Senate.

The legislation would stop communities from setting their own living wage and workplace rules – among other things.

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A state elections board has given a green light to a petition drive to ban prevailing wage requirements in Michigan.

The petition language mirrors legislation currently in the state House that would end laws requiring union-level pay and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects. Those bills appear to be stalled.

Construction pit.
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The state Senate has voted to ban prevailing wage requirements in Michigan. Those laws mandate union-level pay and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects.

Supporters of Senate Bills 12, and 3 say prevailing wage artificially drives up the cost of taxpayer-funded projects, and repealing it would save the state and communities millions of dollars every year.

The Michigan State Capitol
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A state Senate committee has adopted bills to repeal the law that requires contractors to pay prevailing union wages on publicly funded construction projects.

A lot of the debate and testimony was about whether prevailing wage rules add to the cost of publicly funded projects.

Construction along 1-96 in Michigan.
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Unions are expected to push back this week against bills that would repeal prevailing wage laws in Michigan.

A state Senate panel is expected to hold hearings on Senate Bills 1, 2, and 3. The legislation would ban laws requiring union-level compensation for workers on publicly-funded construction projects.

Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder is following up his State of the State address on Tuesday by continuing to promote skilled trades. In the speech, Snyder highlighted skilled trades as a way to boost employment, education, and Michigan’s economy during.

The governor visited a mold and die plant in Lansing the morning after the speech to highlight programs that train skilled workers.

“They’re not jobs that go away easily,” Snyder told reporters at the event. “If you think about huge capital equipment, you need well-trained, really good people running that equipment.”

The ZR2 concept features a 2.8 liter duramax diesel that will be going into the Colorado later this year.
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This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Kyle Norris discuss a Republican plan to repeal the state's prevailing wage law, and whether things are looking up after a rough year for the auto industry.


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