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Prevailing wage ban stalls on path to the Legislature


A petition campaign to repeal wage protections for workers on government construction projects has been halted. That leaves time for the Michigan Supreme Court to hear a challenge to the question filed by construction worker unions.

Patrick Devlin is with the Michigan Construction and Building Trades Council. The Supreme Court order came less than an hour before a state board was going to certify the petition campaign and send the question to the Legislature.

“It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve had a smile on my face coming to Lansing," Devlin said. "So, this is great news. It’s a great day for the men and women of the construction industry. So, we’re very happy.”

The petition campaign is led by business groups and non-union construction companies. A spokesman says the people who signed petitions deserve to have their signatures counted.        

Amber McCann, press secretary for the state Senate Republicans, says GOP lawmakers are poised to vote to repeal the prevailing wage if and when the question arrives at the doors of the Legislature.

“Most senators know where they stand on the issue,” she said.

The Senate voted to repeal the prevailing wage law in 2015, but that stalled due to the threat of a veto by Governor Rick Snyder. A petition initiative cannot be vetoed.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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