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Prevailing Wage Preservation Effort Ropes In Veterans

Prevailing Wage Preservation Effort Ropes In Veterans

MIRS News, 2/27/18

About 20 veterans from Michigan’s skilled workforce lobbied lawmakers today with a message for lawmakers: “A vote against prevailing wage is a vote against high-quality jobs that allow veterans to support themselves and their families.”

As the Bureau of Elections continue to determine an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)-funded drive to repeal prevailing wage, the organized trade unions are linking their effort to the measure’s impact on military veterans.

“After serving in the Navy I worked many jobs before becoming an Operating Engineer,” said Jeff McCARTHY, a business agent for Operating Engineers 324 and Navy veteran. “The Operating Engineers provided the sense of brotherhood and discipline I enjoyed in the military, while allowing me to employ the skills I had spent years honing during my service.

A study of the 2015 prevailing wage repeal in Indiana showed that, after the repeal, highly skilled workers dropped out of the workforce, and contractors replaced them with low-quality, low-skilled labor, according to the trades unions.

“I’ve worked hard and am dedicated to my work as a carpenter. It would be hard for me to have to give this career up and find another one, so I can support myself and my family,” said Jesse COWELL, a carpenter with the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters (MRCC), and veteran Marine who entered the trades by taking welding classes in high school. “Not many people have the privilege of saying they enjoy going to their job each day. I do, and I hope I’m able to continue saying that in the years to come.”