Wisconsin is the latest state to repeal its prevailing wage law, which had for 80 years aligned wages for public construction projects with local standards.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is running for president, signed the repeal as part of the state’s final budget bill. He said the repeal would save millions of dollars on school and government construction. Unlike in other states that have repealed similar laws, Wisconsin did away with the practice for local governments, but mandated that state-funded projects follow the federal prevailing wage.
Indiana repealed its “common construction wage” earlier this year, and a similar effort is stalled in the Michigan Legislature after passing the Senate. A measure to repeal West Virginia’s law failed last fall.
Republican legislators in 11 of the 32 states that have prevailing wage laws are trying to repeal the practice.
The effort is generally supported by anti-union groups but opposed by unionized contractors. As governor, Walker — who announced his presidential candidacy on Monday — signed a law that bars employers from requiring their workers to pay union dues or the equivalent and has limited collective bargaining rights for the state’s public-sector employees.