By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)
The legislature repealed Michigan's prevailing wage law last week, dealing another major blow to the political power of union Democrats just 6 years after Gov. Snyder signed Right To Work into law.
In many cases, the prevailing wage law required municipalities to pay higher prices for construction projects. Supporters say the law helped workers.
"Michigan’s leaders should be able to negotiate contracts based on what’s best for Michigan, not what’s best for big union bosses," Michigan Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser said in a press release.
Union leaders have been going ballistic, and they say Republicans will pay a political price for hurting workers.
The issue would have been voted on by the people in November if not passed by the legislature.
According to Dave Eggert of the AP:
"The Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature on Wednesday rescinded the state’s decades-old law that guarantees higher wages for construction workers on government projects, quickly enacting the repeal initiative rather than letting it go to a public vote.
Though Gov. Rick Snyder opposed the measure, it was veto-proof because it was initiated through a ballot drive by nonunion contractors. The prevailing wage law requires paying the local wage and benefit rate — usually union scale — on state-financed construction of schools, university dorms and other public works projects.
Michigan is the fifth conservative-led state to annul its prevailing wage law since 2015. The repeal will take effect immediately but not affect existing contracts.
“The time has come to eliminate this outdated law and save our taxpayers money,” said Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, a West Olive Republican who has long pushed to repeal the measure that was enacted in 1965. Other GOP lawmakers called the law a government-mandated “carve-out” and a “price-fixing scheme.”
Democrats voted against the legislation , saying it will result in lower paychecks and that it makes no sense as Michigan tries to address a shortage of tradespeople.
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.