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POLL: Likely Michigan Voters Support the Prevailing Wage by More Than 2-to-1

via The Detroit News

via The Detroit News

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The results of a new Michigan poll support labor movement claims that the prevailing wage is vital to a strong workforce and quality of life. It is bad news for extremists in the legislature who wish to move forward with repeal of the age-old law despite Republican governor Rick Snyder’s support of skilled tradespeople. 

The poll, released exclusively to the The Detroit News and WDIV-TV, showed that 59 percent of likely voters want to keep the prevailing wage, more than double the 25 percent of respondents that oppose the important wage protection.  A total of 15.8 percent of voters still don’t know how they would vote.

Among Independents, 59 percent wish to keep the law and 20 percent favor repeal.  The anti-worker group Protecting Michigan Taxpayers has begun collecting signatures to put the issue on the ballot for the 2016 election.  

There is a strong divide among Republicans, inside and outside the legislature, when it comes to the prevailing wage.  Of the 600 respondents who identified themselves as “strong Republicans,” 42.3 percent favored keeping the law and 40.5 percent favored a repeal.  

Yet, at the behest of special interests, Republican leadership is pressing on.  One of these interests is the anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Michigan, whose president Chris Fisher recently said:

“It’s time to eliminate this outdated law that unfairly increases the cost of taxpayer-funded construction projects across the state.  Every day throughout the broader construction industry, workers across the state put on hard hats and deliver on-time, quality construction without a prevailing wage mandate.”

The only problem with this argument is, “across the state” the prevailing wage is not a potential cost-cutter. As we have explained in the past, 95 percent of the state’s road projects are paid for at least partially with federal funds and are therefore subject to federal Davis-Bacon (prevailing wage) standards. 

What, then, is the point of the repeal push?  It reads like nothing more than an anti-union propoganda campaign intended to build momentum for future whittling down of labor protections.

“Our data finds that a super majority of people don’t know what it is,” the ABC’s Fisher said. “The more people know about it, the more people dislike it.”

This latest poll indicates otherwise. Big business wishing and hoping can’t cover up the fact that prevailing wage repeal will result in lower wages and out-of-state, fly-by-night contractors giving jobs to non-Michigan residents. Perhaps that’s why Protecting Michigan Taxpayers isn’t called Protecting Michigan Workers.


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