It seems that Indiana is about to repeal its Common Construction Wage law. You might be upset by the news, or you might be supportive of the idea. Or you might be thinking, “What the heck is the Common Construction Wage?”
The law stipulates that most government construction contracts must have workers’ wages determined by a local committee comprised of union and government officials. The law was enacted in 1935 to ensure fair wages, and usually sets wages near union levels.
Well, that’s probably not going to be the case anymore in Indiana, as a repeal has passed the State legislature, while Governor Mike Pence has yet to sign it but is a vocal supporter of it. They insist that it’s purely in the interests of lowering costs on public construction projects, despite detractors’ claims that it will bring lower wages to Indiana workers, attract out-of-state workers, and hurt unions.
This comes a little more than three years after Indiana passed a right-to-work bill. For those who don’t know what right-to-work laws are, put simply, they allow workers in a workplace to receive the same terms and benefits of a union contract without having to join a union or pay its dues. Ostensibly about freedom of choice, these laws and their benefits to workplaces and local economies are controversial. There’s little argument, however, that unions have a much weaker presence in states with right-to-work laws.
Pence has also spoken highly of Wisconsin Governor and 2016 Presidential candidate Scott Walker. Walker, you might remember, made a name for himself by outlawing collective bargaining by public employees in his state.
So, is the repeal of the Common Construction Wage law really about the interests of the state and its taxpayers? Or is it about weakening unions and increasing the power of corporations while leaving workers at their mercy? You decide. I’m just stating the facts...