Indiana Republican Leader Admits Prevailing Wage Repeal Hasn't Saved Money

The Republican-led Wisconsin state Senate is discussing a bill to repeal prevailing wage laws for public works projects. As with most such attacks on working people in the United States, the arguments advanced in service of stripping rights from workers fall flat under even the slightest scrutiny.

Even Republicans admit that when pressed. Indiana passed a similar law in 2015 and video has surfaced from a forum April 24 in Milwaukee, where Indiana's House Assistant Majority Leader Ed Soliday (R) admits that the prevailing wage repeal in his state didn't save a penny.

Soliday said:

We got rid of prevailing wage and so far it hasn’t saved a penny. Probably the people most upset with us repealing [prevailing] wage were the locals. Because the locals, quite frankly, like to pay local contractors and they like local contractors to go to the dentist in their own town.

The exaggerations in those hearings that we were going save 22%. Well, total labor costs right now in road construction is about 22%, and I haven’t noticed anyone who’s going to work for free. [They claim] there’s some magic state out there that’s going to send all these workers into work for $10 an hour and it’s just not going to happen. There’s not 22% savings out there when the total cost of labor is 22%. It’s rhetoric. So far, I haven’t seen a dime of savings out of it.

Analysis of the Wisconsin legislation shows that $1.2 billion will be lost annually if the bill passes because of reduced economic activity. Study of the Indiana repeal shows that the state lost jobs because of it, and neighboring Kentucky saw a very similar number of new construction jobs appear in the aftermath.

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Reposted from the AFL-CIO.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From AFL-CIO

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work