May 11, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Milwaukee, WI – In April, Indiana’s House assistant majority leader, Ed Soliday, traveled to Wisconsin, where the Republican-led state Senate is considering a bill to repeal the law that workers on public construction projects must be paid a union-level prevailing wage.
At a forum in Milwaukee, Soliday was asked how much Indiana has saved in labor costs since it repealed its prevailing-wage law in 2015. “So far it hasn’t saved a penny,” he answered. Supporters of repeal claimed that it would save 22% of construction costs, he explained, but “total labor costs right now in road construction are about 22%, and I haven’t noticed anyone who’s going to work for free.” There’s no “magic state out there that’s going to send all these workers into work for $10 an hour,” he added. “It’s just not going to happen.” A 2015 study commissioned by the labor-management National Alliance for Fair Contracting projected that repealing prevailing wage would cost Wisconsin $500 million a year in business going to out-of-state contractors and more than $1.2 billion in reduced economic activity. Read more