prevailing wage

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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 /

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.

Christopher Peplin / Flickr

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.

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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.
Christopher Peplin / Flickr

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.

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.
I-96 Fix / Facebook

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.
Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

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.

Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether local governments can require contractors to pay union wages on public projects. The court agreed to hear a challenge to Lansing’s prevailing wage ordinance. But there are at least two dozen other Michigan counties, cities, and townships that have similar rules.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Now that Republicans have strengthened their control of the Michigan Legislature, one analyst expects a fight to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law.

Republicans picked up four seats in the state House on Tuesday, expanding their majority to 63 of the 110 seats. Republicans also added a state Senate seat.The GOP will hold a 27-to-11 margin in the Senate when the next session begins in 2015.

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An association of non-union construction companies has asked the state Supreme Court to strike down local prevailing wage laws. The Associated Builders and Contractors says a state law preempts the ordinances.

Nearly two dozen Michigan communities have their own prevailing wage ordinances. They’re supposed to ensure that workers on city-financed projects are paid something close to union wages.