Non-Union Builders Challenge Local Wage Floors

Jul 15, 2014

An association of non-union construction companies has asked the state Supreme Court to strike down local prevailing wage laws.

The Associated Builders and Contractors says a state law preempts the ordinances.

We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta.

Nearly two dozen Michigan communities have their own prevailing wage ordinances. They’re supposed to ensure that workers on city-financed projects are paid something close to union wages.

Chris Fisher of the Association of Builders and Contractors says that’s not legal, and wants the Republican-controlled state Supreme Court to clear up a patchwork of lower court rulings. He says the ordinances can add a lot to the cost of taxpayer-funded infrastructure.

“If you make construction in the public sector more expensive, you’re going to have less construction, less investment, and that doesn’t help anybody,” he says.

Fisher’s group is challenging the city of Lansing’s prevailing wage law. A spokesman for the city says the ordinance ensures workers on public projects are paid a fair wage, and is good for the local economy.