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Michigan without Prevailing Wage: Learn how your community could be affected

Michigan without Prevailing Wage: Learn how your community could be affected

Next week’s vote in the Michigan House will impact every family. Where does your lawmaker stand?

LANSING – Across Michigan, the prevailing wage law sets standards for constructing public projects, like roads and bridges, hospitals and schools. For decades, prevailing wage has ensured construction workers are paid fairly, keeping the best workers on the job and leading to higher safety and quality on taxpayer-funded projects.

Next week, the Michigan Legislature is likely to vote on the future of prevailing wage.

Here are five ways repealing the prevailing wage law will impact Michigan families and communities:

1. The best workers will leave for other states at a time when we need them most, hurting the economic comeback. According to one recent University of Michigan study, the construction industry is growing fast and will continue to be a top job provider in Michigan. However, many experts caution there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill demand.

“The fact is, repealing prevailing wage will turn Michigan’s skilled worker shortage into a skilled worker crisis,” said Douglas W. Stockwell, Business Manager of Operating Engineers 324. “Highly trained workers will leave for neighboring states where they can count on a fair wage.”

2. Schools and hospitals will be built by poorly-trained, out-of-state workers. With prevailing wage in place, families can rest assured that publicly-funded buildings are built the right way, the first time, by the best workers in the business. Without prevailing wage, projects will go to out-of-state contractors with no stake in Michigan’s future. They’ll put untrained workers on taxpayer-funded projects, like schools and hospitals, resulting in lower-quality construction.

3. Taxpayers will be left on the hook for costly repairs and reconstruction. When buildings aren’t constructed by high-quality, well-trained workers, chances are much higher that taxpayers will foot the bill for reconstruction.

“You get what you pay for, and Michigan’s prevailing wage means taxpayers are assured high quality construction projects,” said Geno Alessandrini, Business Manager for the Michigan Laborers District Council. “Repealing prevailing wage will hurt taxpayers, with cut-rate contractors doing poor work and leaving town, leaving Michigan communities holding the bag.”

4. Job training and on-the-job safety will be put at risk. Without prevailing wage, funding for job training will be cut, a move that will carry serious consequences for workers on job sites across the state.

“Prevailing wage is absolutely critical to provide world-class training for workers, which is important from a business perspective and an important way to keep workers safe,” explained Mike Jackson, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, which just opened a new training center in Wayland. “A well-trained team is a safe team, so it makes no sense for lawmakers to repeal prevailing wage and slash funding that keeps Michigan workers out of harm’s way.”

5. Michigan’s leading employers will suffer. Last month, more than 70 contractors spanning Michigan sent a letter to lawmakers in support of prevailing wage, citing the benefits of the law for recruiting and retention, workforce training and on-the-job safety.

“Highly trained, dedicated workers on our job sites mean safer working conditions and a higher-quality end product. Prevailing wage helps us get the job done,” the contractors wrote.

Learn more about Michigan’s prevailing wage by visiting