LANSING, Mich., Oct. 7, 2021 — Today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that her administration would be reinstating a prevailing wage on state-funded construction projects, despite the 2018 Republican legislation that ended the practice. Prevailing wage laws set wage and benefit floors for state-funded projects, guaranteeing higher wages for construction workers.
“Republicans thought they could save money by gutting our prevailing wage law, but that was a shortsighted mistake that has made Michigan a less attractive place to live for skilled workers,” said House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township). “We are a state built by skilled labor and have a legacy of valuing our workforce. As we take steps toward making a historic and necessary investment in our roads and bridges, it’s important to ensure that the construction jobs these projects create can truly support working families and attract new talent to our state.”
“As a journeyman machine repair machinist, I know a thing or two about the value of quality work,” said state Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), who earlier this year introduced House Bill 4594 to restore prevailing wage. “I’m proud to support the Governor’s decision restore prevailing wage, which would both lower the cost of repairs for taxpayers and ensure our public projects are of top quality by attracting more skilled labor to our state. Prevailing wage is a win-win. It’s a win for Michigan workers, who deserve a fair wage for their skilled labor, and it’s a win for Michigan’s economy, with more money flowing into local businesses. Reinstating prevailing wage is an important step toward retaking our place as a leader in workers’ rights and a hub of skilled labor.”
“It’s clear Michigan is facing a labor shortage, due in part to the repeal of prevailing wage over three years ago. That repeal was based on the myth that it would save taxpayer dollars, but, in reality, we’ve only seen lower-quality work and no real savings,” said state Rep. Terry Sabo (D-Muskegon), chair of the Michigan Legislative Labor Caucus. “It’s common sense: you get what you pay for. The best way to recruit and retain workers isn’t to encourage a race to the bottom but to give them good benefits and pay them what they deserve. I’m sick of hearing Republicans claim they support our blue-collar workers when they do nothing but hurt their bottom line. By reinstating the prevailing wage, we’re letting workers know who’s really on their side.”