Senate panel votes to scrap prevailing wage

May 13, 2015

Credit Aunt owwee / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A state Senate committee has adopted bills to repeal the law that requires contractors to pay prevailing union wages on publicly funded construction projects.

A lot of the debate and testimony was about whether prevailing wage rules add to the cost of publicly funded projects.

Ed Haynor is on the board of the Newaygo County intermediate school district. He says the lowest bid does not necessarily mean the lowest cost.

“Typically, you see more change orders with low-bid contractors because they on-purposely (sic) low bid to get the job, and then afterwards they’ll add back on to improve their profit margin,” Haynor said.

Haynor says prevailing wage helps provide more-accurate bids.

Opponents of the law say it drives up the costs of building schools, clinics, and other public facilities. 

Mike Houseman is with the Wolverine Building Group.

"It is a serious red tape problem. For us inside at the office, we sometimes have to hire extra personnel just to handle that red tape,” Houseman said.

Governor Rick Snyder opposes the legislation. He says it will make skilled trades jobs less attractive.