June 15, 2011
One of the more important things the Joint Finance Committee did in its version of the state budget bill has flown pretty much under the radar. Little notice was taken of the provision that eliminates a requirement that construction companies pay prevailing wage on any project where tax dollars are involved.
It rated a few brief paragraphs in The Daily Reporter, a Milwaukee-based construction industry paper.
The Reporter identifies the provision targeted for repeal as “a 2009 law” that requires payment of the hourly wage most
commonly paid for similar labor in a given locality.
Prevailing wage traces its unsavory lineage to the federal Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, designed to reserve public works jobs for union members. Its other consequences include the artificial inflation of the labor costs for any public works project.
Strange, that the unions haven’t been screaming about this. Then again, maybe not so strange: If the unions bring it up, somebody
might ask them to explain it.