Late last night, after months of waiting and delays, not to mention the day after a long Labor Day weekend when many families were discussing what happened on the first day of school, JFC Co-Chairs Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) released their 20-page Transportation Budget Motion. Their motion, passed along party lines, calls for a complete repeal of Wisconsin’s Prevailing Wage statutes: continuing the repeal of the local prevailing wage statute and repealing prevailing wage statutes for both state building projects and state highway projects. It also called for 200 jobs to be cut from the Department of Transportation.
Prevailing Wage sets the standard for fair wages in construction projects, ensuring that projects are completed on-time, on-budget, with wages that support local communities and support local working families. Proud, skilled labor equals strong investment in our communities, in our families and in our future.
The dead of the night vote is reminiscent of the vote to repeal the local prevailing wage in July 2015. Over two years ago, in the dark of night, our State’s local Prevailing Wage statute was introduced and quickly repealed in the budget debate on the Senate floor. Now, once again in the dark of night, Republicans have at the last minute introduced and voted on a measure to repeal Prevailing Wage in the JFC.
It bears repeating that Gov. Walker’s original budget released on February 8, 2017 included the full repeal of our State’s Prevailing Wage statutes. Two months later, as the JFC was in the middle of taking public testimony from Wisconsinites on the Governor’s proposed budget, the JFC pulled the repeal of prevailing wage from the budget. Legislators then introduced bills to repeal the State’s prevailing wage laws. Now, the JFC has snuck at the last minute the full repeal of prevailing wage back into the budget. Wisconsinites are getting the run around.
Prevailing Wages save taxpayers money because highly skilled and highly trained Wisconsin workers get the job done right the first time. Fair Prevailing Wage standards are a key link between safe infrastructure and strong communities, helping to ensure skilled, talented workers build high-quality infrastructure safely and on time. Take action to protect prevailing wage today.
FOXCONN UPDATE: The JFC also took up the Foxconn bill yesterday. The JFC voted party-line on an amendment that fails to prioritize Wisconsin workers, assure good family-supporting jobs, guarantee the full American right to organize a union free of retaliation, and secure full safety protections. Instead, the amendment offers Foxconn Corporation added benefits by detouring any lawsuit related to the Foxconn Special Session bill to be directly appealed to Wisconsin Supreme Court, skipping the normal process of Court of Appeals altogether. The Foxconn bill will now go to the Senate floor on September 12.
Your Wisconsin AFL-CIO will keep you up-to-date on any and all legislation that impacts working families as we strive to create an economy that fosters social and economic justice for all workers.