May 5, 2015
With Republicans controlling more than two-thirds of the nation’s state legislatures, they’re going after prevailing-wage laws. Indiana’s legislature passed a bill last month repealing the state’s law that workers on public construction projects must be paid the “common construction wage,” and Gov. Mike Pence is about to sign it.
Similar bills have been proposed in more than 10 other states, including Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Missouri. West Virginia ended the prevailing wage for projects worth $500,000 or less, and Nevada enacted a law exempting school construction projects from it. The New Deal-era laws are intended to prevent contractors from winning bids by paying the lowest wages, but Indiana House Speaker Brian C. Bosma said repeal would give public projects the same “quality competition as the private sector enjoys.” Henry Burks, a union electrician who lives near Indianapolis, says he expects the law will reduce his income by about a quarter. Read more