On Monday, the Indiana House of Representatives voted 51-45 to repeal the state’s Common Construction Wage law. No Democrats voted in favor of the repeal and ten Republicans opposed the measure as well.
Common Construction Wage, known in other states as prevailing wage, is a state law that sets a minimum wage and benefit level for publicly funded construction projects. The level is set at what the most commonly paid wage is within that county. This ensures that government spending does not undermine a local standard of living and that local contractors are able to competitively bid these projects without being undercut by out of state contractors who pay workers as little as possible.
If the law is repealed, employers would be able to pay construction workers minimum wage without any health or retirement benefits, and with no funding toward training programs.
“Repealing this law would start a race to the bottom in all senses,” said Local 150 president-business manager James M. Sweeney. “Workers’ wages would go down, harming their families and the businesses where they spend money. Local contractors would be underbid by unscrupulous builders flooding into Indiana from other parts of the country. The overall skill level of the construction industry would go down, as contractors would have no obligation to provide workers with the kind of cutting edge training that unions provide.”
The measure must go before the Senate before heading to the desk of Governor Pence, who has said he will sign it if the Senate passes it.