Legislation would ensure all public projects pay prevailing wage

LANSING, Mich., Oct. 13, 2021 — Michigan House Democrats held a press conference today to support Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to reinstate prevailing wage on state-funded construction projects and call for a hearing on House Bill 4594 to expand that coverage to all publicly funded projects. Prevailing wage laws set wage and benefit floors on publicly-funded projects, guaranteeing higher wages for construction workers.

“Republicans are calling paying Michigan workers a fair wage ‘partisan politics’ and a ‘cheap stunt,’ making it clear whose side they’re really on,” said House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township). “As we take steps toward making a historic and necessary investment in our roads and bridges, reinstating prevailing wage is key to ensuring that the construction jobs these projects create pay a fair wage for a hard day’s work and can truly support working families and attract new talent to our state.”

Jimmy Greene, the president of Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, who pushed for the repeal of prevailing wage, recently admitted that there’s no evidence to back up their claim that the repeal of prevailing wage would be beneficial to taxpayers. When speaking with the Detroit Free Press, Greene said he could not point to any studies or data showing the state has saved money on construction projects since the prevailing wage law was repealed and that the group’s opposition to prevailing wage is primarily based on a “philosophical preference.”

“I am proud to have introduced House Bill 4594 to reinstate prevailing wage to pay workers fairly, lower the cost of repairs for taxpayers and make sure the job is done right the first time,” state Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac). “Unfortunately, this bill has been sitting in the House Committee on Workforce, Trades and Talent since March. It seems Republicans fail to grasp the benefits prevailing wage provides for our working families and Michigan as a whole. I’m calling on the Chair of the Workforce, Trades and Talent Committee to give House Bill 4594 an immediate hearing so we can move toward enshrining prevailing wage in Michigan law once again and ensure working families earn what they’re worth.”

“We are a state built by skilled labor and have a legacy of valuing our workforce,” said state Rep. Terry Sabo (D-Muskegon), chair of the Michigan Legislative Labor Caucus. “Reinstating prevailing wage is an important step toward retaking our place as a leader in workers’ rights and a hub of skilled labor. Republicans have talked a big game about supporting Michigan workers and now is the perfect opportunity to back those words up with action, but they’re once again showing their true colors and hanging blue-collar families out to dry.”