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Michigan Legislature Gets Rid of Prevailing Wage


Prevailing wage is now a thing of Michigan’s past. The House and Senate passed an initiative Wednesday to get rid of the law that requires workers be paid union-level wages on public contracts.

Union members and skilled trade workers gathered at the Capitol to oppose the vote.

They interrupted House session multiple times during the vote to cheer speeches against repealing the law and boo those in favor of repeal.

The bill passed in a 56-53 vote. The chamber erupted with yells and jeers after the vote was tallied.

Tom Lutz, a member of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, said everyone in the skilled trades should be worried about being paid less – not just union members.

“It will and has effected in the surrounding states, every construction worker,” he said.

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.

This is a voter-initiated law, certified by the Board of State Canvassers last week, so Snyder cannot veto it.

Republicans called the move a win for taxpayers.

“Anytime that the government mandates a wage for something, it isn’t necessarily going to be the best wage,” said Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-Holland). “The market will find the right level of payment for folks for the job that’s being performed.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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