The leader of the state senate says he has found evidence of collusion between the state labor department and unions on setting prevailing wages. Prevailing wages are set for each county for various categories of workers on taxpayer-funded projects.
Sen. Rob Mayer (R-Dexter) hopes to revise the state’s prevailing wage law. Wages are supposed to be set on the basis of reports from contractors about the wages paid and the hours worked by their employees in each county. But few private contractors cooperate with that program. Mayer says about 70 percent of the counties don’t get those reports. And he accuses the labor department of showing a partiality toward unions when open shop contractors do file reports.
Mayer complains prevailing wages, therefore, are usually established by union agreement figures. He suggests non-union contractors don’t report their figures because they think the labor department favors unions. Spanish Lake Sen. Tim Green, a long-time labor advocate in the legislature, says it’s the non-union contractors’ own fault when union-scale wages are used on those projects in their areas.
Green’s amendment making reporting of wages and hours by contractors mandatory is pending, should the senate get back to Mayer’s bill.