Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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Prevailing Wage Laws Under Attack

 

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Approximately a month ago, Michigan became the sixth state since 2015 repeal its prevailing wage law. Market-based research continues to indicate that repealing prevailing wage laws will not save money but will cut wages for middle-class construction workers, shrink the economy, and accelerate a growing skilled-labor shortage that will undermine any effort to rebuild America’s critical infrastructure.

In 2015, Indiana repealed its prevailing wage law (known as the Common Construction Wage). According to new research by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI) and Colorado State University-Pueblo Economics Professor Kevin Duncan, this action has failed to produce a dollar of the massive amount of promised taxpayer savings on school construction projects but has had a substantial negative effect on skilled worker wages, job growth, productivity, and other economic and industry indicators.

It is not just state prevailing wage law that is under attack. The U.S. House of Representatives has held numerous votes on amendments trying to repeal national prevailing wage law in the last few years. Proponents of prevailing wage (Davis Bacon) law, including SMACNA, have fought hard and won those votes by substantial margins.  However, like National SMACNA, local chapters must remain active and vigilant. Being active on the legislative front is important, but also remember elections matter too. Chapters and contractors need to be active on the political campaign side of this and other important market issues. 

SMACNA’s Legislative Affairs Department can share its letters to Capitol Hill in support of Davis Bacon and has access to some studies in support of prevailing wage that may be helpful to SMACNA chapters. For additional information, contact SMACNA's Director of Legislative Affairs, Stan Kolbe, at skolbe@smacna.org. Read more...