LANSING — Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted on a proposal to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law, which ensured that workers on state projects were paid a fair wage. The proposal passed by a vote of 56-53. In response, state Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit) issued the following statement:
“The repeal of prevailing wage is an act of hypocrisy. As a legislator who serves on the both the Michigan STEM Council and the Michigan Workforce and Talent Development Committee, I am outraged. It is amazing to me that, as a state, we’ve invested in trade school programs and education to develop the skilled trade professions only to discourage students from pursuing these professions by slashing one of the primary incentives for joining those trades in the first place: economic opportunity. Yesterday’s repeal is an affront to working people across the state and in my district, who entrusted us to be good stewards of their interests.
“The fact is, we have already seen the negative effects of getting rid of prevailing wage 20 years ago when it was briefly suspended. It led to poor craftsmanship, less-qualified and less-productive workers, and it decreased workplace safety. Numerous studies confirm that lower wages for skilled laborers don’t drive down costs of construction, but can actually increase them. US Department of Labor statistics show the impact of our neighbor Indiana’s decision to repeal prevailing wage, and they found that Hoosiers working in the construction industry are earning less than they were before, with no meaningful cost savings for Indiana taxpayers. Repeal was a failure there and it will be here too. The families of our state deserve better.”