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Prevailing Wage

ABC is strongly opposed to job-killing prevailing wage requirements.

ABC believes in solid and competitive wages. This means having wages that are neither artificially low nor high. When the government requires that state prevailing wage be paid on publicly funded construction projects, wages are artificially inflated by as much as 40 to 60 percent above private-sector averages.

Prevailing wage cost inflation makes public construction uncompetitive and puts an undue strain on contractors and on state and school budgets. Repealing the state prevailing wage mandate would create more good-paying jobs and help the construction industry compete with the 44 other states that either have no such artificial mandates or that have at least chosen to base wage determinations on more accurate and reliable measures. Right now, Michigan is tied for worst in the country. We need to do better! 

Without prevailing wage, Michigan’s construction industry already pays its workforce an average annual salary of $47,000 (which is a better wage than the state average for all industries combined). Michigan’s construction industry - the only industry that is subject to prevailing wage in Michigan - should not be penalized for already doing the right thing.

Learn more about how Prevailing Wage harms our Michigan economy.

In Michigan, prevailing wage doesn’t “prevail.” It's not like a minimum wage - it’s based on collective bargaining agreements, which cover only 17 percent of the state construction workforce but are imposed on 100 percent of workers. Such a lopsided scheme is hardly “prevailing.” The state of Michigan and taxpayers aren’t even allowed at the bargaining table in determining rates.

The Michigan prevailing wage agreements are not subject to any administrative or legislative oversight or negotiation. Because there's no fiscal responsibility to taxpayers in prevailing wage, research routinely finds that these requirements inflate government-funded construction costs by approximately 10 percent without any additional gain or return on investment.

Prevailing wage is a red tape nightmare that forces the construction industry to monitor more than 350,000 different wage classifications. That’s more wage classifications than there are construction workers in Michigan. 

Best practices seen in other states (and common sense) all point to it being time to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage.

We need to encourage our construction industry to grow, not create undue burdens on these businesses.

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Project Labor Agreements

ABC opposes ALL discrimination.

We believe that all working men and women, union and non-union alike, have a right to equal competition to work on publicly funded construction projects. 

In 2011, Michigan's Fair and Open Competition in Governmental Construction Act addressed this issue by banning government-mandated Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). This ensures that the state does not discriminate against any business or worker on the basis of union affiliation while protecting tax dollars by awarding bids competitively to all contractors.
PLAs are essentially unionized monopolies on construction projects which unfairly exclude those Michigan workers who have chosen not to belong to a union. Since around 80% of the Michigan construction workforce chooses not to belong to a labor union, PLAs amount to a discriminatory preference for union members. This preference in turn reduces competition and results in a higher construction cost for the taxpayer. Michigan taxpayers benefit from a PLA ban because they have assurance that public construction is completed by the lowest qualified responsible bidder.
ABC of Michigan strongly supports this state-level ban on government-mandated PLAs because it aligns with our core value that states that union workers and contractors cannot be discriminated against and that non-union workers and contractors cannot be discriminated against. All qualified Michigan working men and women should have the opportunity to compete for work on projects that their tax dollars paid for. 

The Federal courts have sided with ABC on this issue and have repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of the 2011 Act.

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Carpenter Licensure

Carpenter licensure would not make carpentry more professional, it would only create new and unneeded red tape.

ABC strongly opposes some carpenter licensure schemes that have been introduced in Michigan because they result in burdensome mandates that would raise the cost of construction without benefiting a single taxpayer, business, project owner or carpenter.

In Michigan quality of construction is overseen by the Michigan Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC), which is the way it should be. The BCC is in place to “assure that the built environment and the systems within are sound, safe and sanitary; building users' health, safety and welfare are protected; and that, through a coordinated program of code compliance, investigation and training, there is consistent application of standards.”

Some recent efforts would have even altered the definition of a carpenter to include other trades that do not perform traditional carpentry, just so they would have to also be subjected to licensure. Unfairly, such efforts have previously attempted to create a state carpentry board that would potentially be union-only, ignoring that 82% of the Michigan construction workforce chooses to not belong to a union. 

ABC opposes schemes like this carpenter licensure scheme that would subject craft professionals to an additional layer of bureaucracy with no added benefit.

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Skilled Trade Education

ABC is devoted to a well educated workforce.

Michigan students should be given the opportunities to meet rigorous skilled trades standards as part of their high school curriculum.

Opportunities to pursue rigorous, needed and well-paid skilled trades careers are often overlooked by students. Some students may wish to pursue skilled trades education in high school, but have previously been unable to do so because the high school curricula have been focused specifically on those students who wish to pursue four-year academic opportunities. Although Michigan graduation requirements ensure a 21st century high school curriculum for college-bound students, opportunities for students to pursue rigorous and relevant Career Technical Education (CTE), vocational and trade careers while in high school have not been as accessible.

We're excited that Michigan has recently started to take steps to open up more skilled trades opportunities to students, while maintaining the necessary academic rigor required for high school graduates. ABC supported recent changes to the Michigan Merit Curriculum that strengthen graduation requirements to allow for vocational and skilled trades training for students who wish to take advantage of the opportunity to learn a trade while in high school. 
Why Skilled Trades Education?
Our educational system has emphasized university education to the detriment of rewarding, honorable careers in the skilled trades. Yet, students who pursue the skilled trades can end up graduating high school with marketable skills, and in many cases, job offers. And, for students who are willing to continue on in their training (typically while also being paid), there is almost unlimited unlimited career mobility in the skilled trades. Research suggests that students who enter the workforce more quickly with skilled trades training can make more over their course of their working life than individuals who chose to enter a four year university and incur student loans. 

Plus, the job market continues to grow. In fact, by the end of the next decade, over 2 million U.S. construction jobs will need to be filled. 

The State of Michigan expects construction job opportunities to expand in the next decade, particularly due to a workforce nearing retirement age.

Learn more about the construction industry.

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ABC of Michigan believes that fiscal responsibility and a simpler tax code are keys to a healthy economy.

ABC supports responsible economic policy and and fiscal responsibility.

Several components of the tax code have been devastating to small construction companies. This directly correlates to fewer jobs and a weaker economy. As such, ABC strongly supported the elimination of the Michigan Business Tax and the creation of the new Michigan Corporate Income Tax (CIT). CIT resulted in a fairer method of taxation by eliminating double taxation on S-corps and LLCs, while reducing the overall burden of C-corps.

This has resulted in a more evenly applied, simpler, and lower method of taxation. The result is more investment in our state and job growth. 

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Employee Rights

Employees should be able to exercise their right to secret ballot union elections.

ABC strongly opposes any effort to overturn the established NLRB procedures that guarantee our working men and women a fair union election through the many protections guaranteed by secret ballot voting.

Currently, the preferred method for determining whether or not employees want a union to represent them is a secret ballot election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB provides detailed procedures that ensure a fair election, free of fraud, where employees may cast their vote confidentially without peer pressure or coercion from unions or employers.

Yet, union leadership now claims to find secret ballot elections an impediment to unionization, preferring "card check" elections, where employees are forced to cast their vote in front of union organizers and fellow employees who support unionization, instead of using the NLRB's secret ballot method. Free and fair elections should be a guaranteed protection for all working men and women because they combat fraud and coercion.

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Freedom to Work

ABC supports a worker's freedom to choose whether they join a union or do not.

In 2012, Michigan became the 24th Freedom to Work state. 

ABC of Michigan is dedicated to supporting and defending this law and opposes legislation that would repeal freedom to work.
Michigan’s Freedom to Work (also known as "Right to Work") law prohibits forced union affiliation as a condition of employment for a particular job. One of ABC of Michigan's primary purposes is to support the right of individuals to choose whether or not they want to belong to a union. We strongly oppose discrimination based on union affiliation.

Freedom to Work in Michigan empowers individuals to make their own decision on whether or not to join a labor union instead of being forced to pay union dues and/or fees as a condition of employment.

Need to know your rights under Michigan's Freedom to Work law? Click here to visit the official State of Michigan informational website.

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