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Third Time’s the Harm? ABC’s Petition Drive to Repeal MI’s Prevailing Wage Fails AGAIN

Oh, sure. Yeah, totally. Let's pay this guy less. He's not risking his life or anything.

Oh, sure. Yeah, totally. Let’s pay this guy less. He’s not risking his life or anything.

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Without revealing whether or not they had enough signatures to press on (read: they probably didn’t), the anti-worker group attempting to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage announced it will not move forward with a petition to force the state legislature to vote on the issue or have it become a ballot initiative in the November election.  The deadline for signatures was June 1st.  

It was Protecting Michigan Taxpayers’ second attempt to repeal the prevailing wage through signature gather. The group is funded by the conservative DeVos Family and the anti-union construction industry group, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).  The group’s first attempt was halted by the state after duplicate and fake signatures were discovered.  Their opponent, Protecting Michigan Jobs, estimated that as many as 100,000 of the signatures were invalid. 

Spinning the dark money petition dead end as a “strategic decision,” Protecting Michigan Taxpayers spokesperson and former Michigan ABC President Chris Fisher said his group will exhibit foolish resilience:

“We’re not going anywhere. Stay tuned; everything remains on the table at this time.”

The petition’s goal was to force the Republican-controlled legislature to take up a vote on prevailing wage repeal, allowingn it to circumvent the potential veto of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.  In May of 2015, prevailing wage repeal passed the Senate despite some Republican defections. The repeal was eventually dropped because there was not enough support to override Snyder’s promised veto.  

Since then the ABC and other far-right groups have attempted to circumvent Snyder and moderate Republicans using these citizen-initiated legislative petition drives.  Such drives have been successful six times: four times on abortion issues, once to eliminate the single business tax, and once to approve hunting grey wolves in the state’s upper peninsula.  When enough signatures are gathered for a citizen-initiated petition drive the legislature can vote on the issue with no threat of veto from the governor. If the legislature rejects or declines to act on the proposal it becomes a statewide ballot initiative.  

David Waymire, spokesman for Michigan Prevails, told the Detroit Free Press that many Republicans did not want to take on this issue in a major election year:

“They’ve been talking to Republican legislators and hearing that they’re not in the mood to cut the pay of working men and women.  This has all been a philosophical effort to cut the wages of working men and women and that just hasn’t stood up to the scrutiny it has received.”

Had the issue made it to the ballot, it is unlikely that it would have passed. A poll taken last year showed that two-thirds of Michigan residents support prevailing wage laws.


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