Draft Resolution Opposing Repeal of Prevailing Wage Law

WMU-AAUP Draft Resolution
Opposing Repeal of Prevailing Wage Law

Updated July 1, 2015: Resolution PASSED.

At a meeting of the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee on June 5, WMU Board of Trustees Chair Jim Hettinger asked the WMU-AAUP to consider passing a resolution opposing the repeal of prevailing wage laws in Michigan. Prevailing wage laws require that workers employed on state-funded construction projects be paid union-scale wages and benefits. Repeal measures are now making their way through the state legislature.

After researching the issue, the Executive Committee has voted to recommend to the faculty that the chapter pass such a resolution. This issue is relevant for us as collective-bargaining faculty because the repeal legislation is part of a larger national project of union-busting and disempowerment of working people, including university professors, that we’ve become sadly accustomed to seeing here in Michigan as well as in other states.

All dues-paying members will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed resolution via electronic ballot. Please look for communications from the WMU-AAUP in your wmich emails later this week.

The draft resolution appears below.

(Click here for more information about the repeal bills now under consideration in the state legislature and for links to additional information about prevailing wage laws, including scholarly studies on the economic impacts of repealing these laws. These studies are the sources for the information cited in the draft resolution.)

WMU-AAUP Draft Resolution
Opposing Repeal of Prevailing Wage Law

WHEREAS our investigation into potential costs and benefits shows that there is strong evidence presented by labor and employment economists that repealing prevailing wage laws results in adverse economic impact to workers and families;

Whereas researchers have documented significant losses in earnings for workers in states that repeal prevailing wage laws and project similar losses in states considering repeal;

Whereas average total compensation for all workers is higher in states with prevailing wage laws than in states that have never had prevailing wage laws or have repealed them;

Whereas economists forecast significant job losses in states considering repeal of prevailing wage laws;

Whereas lost wages in the construction industry cause ripple effects throughout the state’s economy, including adverse economic effects for citizens in non-construction sectors;

Whereas states that repeal prevailing wage laws experience decreased income and sales tax revenues;

Whereas repeal of prevailing wage law would result in substantial direct and indirect costs to the citizens of Michigan that would far outpace any theoretical savings that repeal proponents claim would accrue;

Whereas occurrences of occupational injuries are significantly higher in states without prevailing wage laws, causing economic hardship to families and economic costs to the state in the form of increased worker compensation claims;

Whereas construction costs in states without prevailing wage laws are comparable to or higher than those in states with prevailing wage laws;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Western Michigan University chapter of the American Association of University Professors opposes the repeal of Michigan’s prevailing wage laws.