Repeal of ‘right-to-work,’ restoration of prevailing wage go to governor

LANSING, Mich., March 21, 2023 — House Democrats gave final approval today to bills to strengthen workers’ rights and ensure Michigan’s trained and talented workers are paid what they’re worth. Together, House Bill 4004 and Senate Bill 34 repeal the so-called “right-to-work” bills that sapped unions’ ability to negotiate on their members’ behalf for better compensation and working conditions.

“On day one, Michigan Democrats set the restoration of workers’ rights as our top priority,” said state Rep. Jimmie Wilson (D-Ypsilanti). “With the repeal of so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws, or as I like to call them right-to-freeload laws, we have shown the rest of the country what it means to be a union state. I am proud that Michigan is once again a place where my four sons have the same union rights I did.”

HB 4007 and SB 6 reinstate Michigan’s prevailing wage law. The Legislature repealed the prevailing wage law in 2018, claiming it would save taxpayers money on public construction projects. No evidence of those savings ever materialized; in fact, studies have shown that construction projects where prevailing wage is paid are more likely to be completed on time and under budget.

“Promises were made, and promises were kept. House Dems promised we would restore the prevailing wage in Michigan, and we delivered on that promise,” said state Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), sponsor of HB 4007. “We are showing the nation that Michigan is a worker-friendly state, where workers can be sure they will receive a fair wage for their hard work. By ensuring fair, competitive wages, we will ensure that we attract and retain a highly trained workforce because we do not want to see critical infrastructure projects built by contractors that cut corners.”

Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) spoke in favor of SB 6; his speech can be seen here.