The procedure allowed GOP lawmakers in 2018 to circumvent Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature. Snyder had threatened to veto similar legislation previously introduced.
Four Republicans in the state Senate and seven in the state House joined Democratic lawmakers to oppose the prevailing wage repeal.
Whitmer issued a prevailing wage directive last year
Last year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive directive reinstating prevailing wage for projects the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget bid out.
“By reinstating prevailing wage, we are ensuring that working people get treated with dignity and respect, which starts with a fair wage,” Whitmer said in a news release at the time.
Her directive faced and survived a legal challenge. Unlike the legislation that passed the House Wednesday, Whitmer’s directive does not apply to construction projects for state-funded construction projects bid out by local school districts.
Democrats see a win-win for workers and taxpayers in restoring prevailing wage
State Rep. Brenda Carter, D-Pontiac, argues the bill she introduced to reinstate prevailing wage will secure fair pay for workers while reducing the costs of state construction projects in the long run.
“Because if you have to do it over and over and over again because you don’t have the expertise to get it done right the first time, then that’s how you lose money,” Carter said on the House floor ahead of the vote on her bill.
She said her legislation will ensure competitive wages for workers in the skilled trades, helping Michigan attract such workers.
Republicans deride prevailing wage as unfair, costly
Republican House lawmakers, meanwhile, blasted prevailing wage requirements ahead of the vote.
“To propose prevailing wage requirements would stifle competition,” said state Rep. Cam Cavitt, R-Cheboygan. “Outside of minimum wage laws, the free market should exclusively determine wages and labor costs and units of government should be able to negotiate contract terms to make the best use of taxpayer money.”
State Rep. Bill Schuette, R-Midland, said the legislation will lock in higher costs for state construction projects. “This bill frankly is disrespectful to the wallets of Michiganders. State projects in construction should not cost more than identical construction projects in the private sector. Period,” he said.