Many people, including in the Wisconsin Legislature, are trying to pinch pennies and squeeze a buck where ever they can. We applaud the sentiment. However, in the case of the Prevailing Wage law, any effort to repeal or gut the law will have enormous unintended consequences—especially for Main Street business people.
When you “gut” Prevailing Wage you drive down wages across the board and “gut” local workers. That invites out-of-state contractors to use illegal “guest” workers to perform tax payer financed construction work that sends the money—our tax dollars—back home to their family. Is that what we want in Wisconsin?
A statement from an executive of the Associated Building Contractors reveals perhaps the real motivation to repeal Prevailing Wage.
“[We] need to….make it easier for people to move to the United States from other countries and work in the construction industry…”
-Scott Shelar, Executive Director of the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (ABC)
“Rather than addressing the issue of a skilled labor shortage in construction through industry-sponsored apprenticeship programs for local workers, the national ABC advocates a guest-worker program tied to the business cycle.”
“Wisconsin’s prevailing-wage regulation protects Wisconsin construction workers just like the ABC thinks is right for all U.S. workers. Wisconsin’s prevailing-wage assures that on state and local public works, out-of-state workers are paid the same as similarly-situated Wisconsin construction workers.
–Source: Wisconsin’s Prevailing Wage Law: An Economic Impact Analysis by
Peter Philips, Ph.D. April 2015. Professor of Economics. University of Utah.
Don’t let politicians in Madison put an “Illegal worker loophole” into the state budget.
We do not begrudge any person who wants to work to provide for their family. But Prevailing Wage in Wisconsin provides the dollars for training the young men and women from Wisconsin need to compete for those jobs. If you take away the training, you take away the job.
As small business people we believe keeping Wisconsin money in Wisconsin hands helps all of us. Whether it’s workers buying a vehicle; getting braces for the kids; or simply having money to get dinner out; it will all happen less because of the unintended consequences wrought by repealing or gutting Prevailing Wages in our community.