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Feb
2015
24

Ignoring 1000s of Contractors and Workers, IN House Passes Construction Wage Repeal

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After a shotgun hearing moved HB 1019, which would repeal Indiana’s longstanding Common Construction Wage, closer to becoming reality, workers and contractors continued speak out through a contentious week in Indianapolis. But it was of no use. On Monday, the house voted 55-41 to actively lower wages for construction workers in the state.

The reason? Majority, mostly. 13 Republicans joined 28 Democrats in opposing the measure, for a variety of reasons. “I just think it’s a bigger issue than we can decide in a two- or three-hour meeting,” Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) said.

In addition to due process, the voices of the people the change would affect were ignored:

Numerous construction company officials testified against the proposal last week, saying the law contributes to the state having a stable, well-trained labor force.

Rep. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend, said legislators should remember that business officials led arguments against the repeal, not labor unions.

“You had contractors, you had business people, you had the people who drive the economic engines in Indiana fill this chamber,” Niezgodski said. “You had them come one by one and they said, ‘Do not do this. This is going to hurt Indiana. This is going to hurt wages.’”

Those in favor relied on common buzzwords such as “free market” and “taxpayer dollars” to justify the misguided repeal. Labor representatives highlight training, safety, local hire, and a $700 million boost to the state’s economy that result from the prevailing wage.

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