The objects of this Association are to protect its members from unjust and injurious competition, and secure through unity of action among all workers of the industry throughout the United States and Canada, claiming, as we do, that labor is capital, and is the only capital that possesses power to reproduce itself or in other words, to create capital. Labor is the interest underlying all other interests; therefore, it is entitled to and should receive from society and government protection and encouragement. Mankind generally condemns that which they do not thoroughly understand and through prejudice and ignorance neglect to pay that strict attention and regard to the principle of unity for elevating their condition and for the accomplishment of good works which is so much required in creating confidence, generating esteem and respect, and for promoting harmony and good feeling among themselves; therefore, let every member weigh the substance of these laws within his mind and thus become qualified to determine upon that which is herein set forth in the spirit of sincerity and honesty of purpose. (Taken from the UA's Constitution's preamble)
PREVAILING WAGE TALKING POINTS
*Construction unions train our people with our own money. No government grants are involved. A portion of each construction worker's check pays for worker training. Repealing prevailing wage adversely affects the money we can devote to apprentice training and safety programs.
*The Michigan Prevailing Wage Act was enacted in 1966.
*Research by Harvard and Stanford Universities found that in 10 states that repealed their prevailing wage laws in the 1980s, construction workers' wages fell 17.5 percent.
*How would lower wages be good for Michigan
Will the lower income affect our ability to fund our own health care programs Our own pension programs We self-fund our own programs. Of course it would have a negative effect.
*Will lower wages affect productivity? If you're trading a higher-skilled, higher-paid worker for a lower-skilled, lower-paid worker, are labor costs going to be the same? Or is the lower-skilled worker going to take longer to do his job? Generally, you get what you pay for.
*There are academic studies every few years, some from reputable sources, some not, that come out and say prevailing wage either raises or lowers or doesn't affect the cost of construction.
*One study that looks at Michigan specifically.
People forget that in 1994, Federal Judge Cleland overturned Michigan's Prevailing Wage Act, and he said it was pre-empted by federal ERISA laws. An appeals court overturned Cleland two-and-a-half years later, but during that time, Michigan's prevailing wage act was not enforced.
*Michiga's example is used a lot by Labor Professor Peter Phillips of the University of Utah. He gets invited all around the country to talk about what happened in Michigan and other states when prevailing wage laws are revoked.
He found there was no statistical difference in costs to the state when the prevailing wage laws weren't in effect.
*We've often cited Phillips' original study on the effects of prevailing wage repeal in Michigan, Kansas and New Mexico was successfully used in March 1999 to convince a majority of Michigan legislators at the time not to go along with repeal efforts.
*Phillips also did a 2001 study of the elimination or temporary suspension of prevailing wage laws for school projects in the states of Kentucky and Ohio and found no meaningful statistical differences.
*Dr. Dale Belman from Michigan State has also conducted a couple of studies over the last few years and found that any savings from prevailing wage repeal in our state is likely to be small or nonexistent.
*The Mackinac Center said when Michigan's law was repealed that more than 11,000 new jobs were created during those two and a half years. They failed to point up those were tremendous boom times for Michigan construction.
*Take away prevailing wages and you take away a level playing field. You're likely to see unscrupulous contractors hiring a flood of undocumented workers because they have no government oversight on their wages. People say let the market decide wages and who is hired. I say I don't trust the market to hire the right people when all they're looking at is the bottom line.
*Few anti-prevailing wage studies take into effect the increased efficiency of higher-paid, higher-skilled workers, increased maintenance costs brought on by lower-quality work, the cost to society in terms of the greater number of uninsured workers, and the shifting of training costs to the public sector.
*Construction is a seasonal, dirty, difficult and dangerous job. A lot of job classifications require a higher degree of training than anyone gives us credit for.
*Some opponents of prevailing wage laws claim the cost savings of removing the law are anywhere between 10 and 30 percent savings to a municipality. On average labor costs are 25 percent or so of total construction costs on a job. To get to 25 percent savings, construction workers would have to work for free.
The following websites have more information on prevailing wage:
What Have Unions Done for Us?
5-day work week
Family and medical leave
Fair treatment for women, people of all ethnic backgrounds, and those with disabilities
As a non-union Plumber, Pipefitter and HVACR Technician you are selling the best years of your life - hour by hour - day by day - on the installment plan without a contract! Your employer would never dream of performing work without a contract.