On June 6, 2018 the Michigan House and Senate eliminated statewide wage requirements for government-funded construction jobs with a pair of votes adopting a voter petition to repeal Michigan prevailing wage law. Shortly after the Senate passed it 23-14, the House passed the measure 56-53. In both chambers Democrats and a handful of Republicans voted against it. The chamber voted on the measure, ushering in a new policy without the approval of the governor.

Although Gov. Rick Snyder (R) disfavored repeal, the votes aren’t subject to his veto pen, because the repeal is a ballot petition that gained enough signatures to appear before voters this fall. Under Michigan law, the legislature can pass certified petitions on a majority vote, or let the issue pass to the voters.

The push to repeal Michigan prevailing wage law was spearheaded by “Protect Michigan Taxpayers”, a group funded largely by the Associated Builders and Contractors. They circulated a petition for the initiative and, having obtained enough signatures, sent it to the legislature for consideration. Michigan now becomes the 24th state without wage requirements for public construction projects, joining neighboring Wisconsin and Indiana, according to contractor trade group Associated Builders and Contractors Inc.

Unions challenged the signatures, but the Michigan Court of Appeals denied their claims and the Michigan Supreme Court denied an appeal. Unions say repeal of the prevailing wage law will decrease wages, and Snyder says repeal could decrease interest in skilled trades training.