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Veterans speak out about prevailing wages in Lansing

Veterans speak out about prevailing wages in Lansing

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – A group of Veterans gathered in Lansing Tuesday to speak out about and support the prevailing wage vote.

Veterans from three skilled trade unions talked at a press conference at the Michigan Senate building on Tuesday morning.

Their message, “a vote against prevailing wage is a vote against high-quality jobs that allow veterans to support themselves and their families.”

“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. I take pride in my job as an operating engineer, and I ask lawmakers in Lansing to protect the jobs that allow veterans to continue serving our communities when we return to civilian life.”

“Veterans bring with them the experience, grit and sense of unity necessary to succeed in the skilled trades,” said Brad Reed, a business representative for the Michigan Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (MRCC) and Army veteran. “By protecting the prevailing wage, these high-skill, high-demand jobs are more available and accessible to our nation’s heroes.”

“Protecting our skilled trades economy by protecting the prevailing wage makes it possible for veterans to find good-paying jobs in the skilled trades,” said Scott Brown, business agent for the Michigan Laborers’ District Council and Navy veteran. “When we provide quality careers to our veterans we don’t just say ‘thank you’ to the men and women who served our country, we deepen Michigan’s pool of talented workers and we build the workforce needed to keep Michigan’s economy moving.”

A prevailing wage repeal took place in Indiana in 2015; after the repeal, according to the Veterans, highly skilled workers dropped out of the workforce and contractors replaced them with low-quality and low-skilled laborers.