The ABCs of Politics

BREAKING NEWS: Prevailing Wage is Repealed

For the first time in over 50 years, free and fair competition will be the law of the land for state-funded construction projects. With a historic vote, the Michigan House and Senate approved ABC sponsored Citizen-Initiated legislation that repealed the state prevailing wage law.

“This legislation was about leveling the playing field,” said ABC SEMI Board Chairman Robert Clancy. “The free market system has always served the private sector well—the job costs what the market will bear. I applaud the legislature for applying those same fair market principals to the public sector.”

So, what is prevailing wage anyway? The construction industry was the only industry in the state of Michigan that required state tax-payers to pay more for publicly funded projects due to an arbitrary pay scale. This special-interest carve-out known as prevailing wage, artificially inflated the price of labor to abided by collective bargaining wages.

The advocacy efforts led by ABC of Michigan and state affiliate chapters sought to educate community leaders on the burdensome nature of this state law. After continuous attempts to repeal this law through the standard legislative process, Citizen-Initiated legislation was crafted by the organization Protecting Michigan State Taxpayers, and petitions were circulated throughout the entire state.

Seeing the writing on the wall, the labor unions deployed multiple defensive maneuvers to delay this repeal process. Those efforts included a legal drama to disqualify the initiative. The matter was even sent to the Michigan Supreme Court, who made the final judgement to approve the validity of the petition.

“This legislation was a long time coming,” said ABC SEMI President/CEO Keith Ledbetter. “This process has been deliberated and debated for many years and finally our Representatives in the legislature have seen the value of making this a competitive process for everyone—not just a select few. The success of the legislation was not without a certain degree of hardship. Many involved have run the risk, felt the threats, and were coerced but never wavered from their goal.”

With the success of this legislative priority, ABC of Michigan, state affiliate chapters, and our partners will continue to actively fight for the principals of the merit shop. We will not be swayed by our opponents and will ensure that burdensome government red-tape is eliminated.