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Gov. Whitmer reinstates Michigan's prevailing wage requirement for state construction projects

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Posted at 1:15 PM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 20:09:23-04

(WXYZ) — The state of Michigan is once again requiring state contractors and subcontractors to pay prevailing wage for construction projects.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday morning that the state will reinstate the prevailing wage requirement. It was originally repealed in June 2018 by the Republican-led Michigan legislature after a ballot drive.

Under the requirement, the state will establish a prevailing wage and fringe benefit rates for construction workers on state-financed or state-sponsored projects.

According to the governor's office, despite the repeal, the Department of Technology, Management and Budget was able to require prevailing wage under the authority to develop state contracts.

“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 release. "We are ensuring working people can earn a decent standard of living, saving taxpayers money and time on crucial infrastructure projects."

Steve Claywell, the president of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, applauded the decision to reinstate the requirement.

“The actions that have been taken today, help to restore confidence by workers and employers alike,” Claywell said in a release. “The restoring of prevailing wage provides a fair and equal bidding process allowing for highly trained men and women to be paid a good wage. We appreciate the courage of this Governor and stand ready to build Michigan with her.”

The measure was not backed by then Gov. Rick Snyder, and several Republicans voted against the measure in 2018, according to an Associated Press story at the time.

The Senate reportedly voted 23-14 and the House voted 56-53 for the measure.

“The time has come to eliminate this outdated law and save our taxpayers money,” then-Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof said, according to the AP.

Critics of the Governor's move say its illegal and will hurt taxpayers.

“Will people make more money sure. But the question is, who is going to spend it? That’s the taxpayer. That to me is unnecessary and why we engaged in this fight to begin with," said Jimmy Greene of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan.

The Michigan GOP is not a fan of the law being put back on the books and says Governor Whitmer is just looking to get votes.

Greene says his organizationis considering taking the matter to court.