State representative joins in prevailing wage battle - WNEM TV 5

State representative joins in prevailing wage battle

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It was a press conference by people battling the so-called prevailing wage, but at times it turned into a shouting match with union members who support it. 

State Rep. Gary Glenn was hoping to make his case for to end the prevailing wage.  But what exactly is prevailing wage, and how does it impact you?

It's a set rate of pay that workers on state-funded construction projects must be paid. It's based on the union hourly wage for a comparable job.

"It means that employees whose contract employers make the most competitive bid will take more money home than if they weren't able to bid on the job in the first place," Glenn said.

Jimmy Green, CEO of Midland's Associated Builders and Contractors, also support Glenn's proposal. He is joining the state representative who has sponsored legislation ending the practice. Even if the legislature passes it, they expect a veto from Gov. Snyder. They are hoping to gather the 250,000 signatures that would be needed to override it.

"It's an artificially inflated wage in order to build a government entity or school for that matter," Green said.

But not everyone's on board.

Justin Pomerville, a member of UA Local 85, doesn't like it at all.

He said prevailing wage will possibly lead to unskilled workers.

"Drive wages down, and hurt the economy of Michigan," Pomerville said.

Pomerville said he's particularly alarmed by the representative's unwillingness to field questions from union members.

"They don't want people to know why. They don't want people educated," Pomerville said. “They don't want people to know the truth. They state what they want, and it's just propaganda."

It's unclear how long the signature petition drive will take to reach its goal, but Glenn is one of its first.

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