GOP lawmakers in Michigan repeal state prevailing wage

Michigan’s Republican-controlled Legislature repealed the state’s prevailing wage law June 6 without any votes from Democrats. The 50-year-old law required that workers on state and local government construction projects be paid the local prevailing wage — in order to prevent contractors from driving down wages to win bids.

For years, Michigan’s prevailing wage foes were stymied by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who pledged to veto any repeal. But this time, a group funded by Associated Builders and Contractors had gathered 382,700 signatures to qualify a repeal initiative. Under Michigan law, when legislators ratify a citizen initiative that’s headed for the ballot, it’s veto-proof.

Michigan is the fifth GOP-led state to repeal a state prevailing wage law since 2015. A study published this January found that Indiana’s 2015 prevailing wage repeal cut construction worker wages on average by 8.5 percent but had no impact on the average cost of school projects.

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