Peters Will Host Mike Jackson of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights to Highlight Need to Protect American Workers in Any Infrastructure Proposal
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced that Mike Jackson, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (MRCC), will be his guest at President Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 30. As Congress and the President discuss putting forward an infrastructure plan, Peters and Jackson will highlight the need for any proposal to include existing protections for American workers, including abiding by prevailing wage laws and the Davis-Bacon Act. The MRCC represents over 14,000 skilled carpenters and millwrights who build a broad array of projects across the state.
“President Trump has repeatedly touted the need to invest in our infrastructure, but I’m concerned his proposal will leave Michigan workers behind by undercutting prevailing wage laws. I want to hear the President’s assurances that any infrastructure proposal will support skilled workers in Michigan and across the country, and I will work to hold him accountable if he fails to adhere to existing worker protections,” said Senator Peters. “I’m honored to have such a strong advocate for Michigan’s middle class families as my guest this year. For years, Mike Jackson has stood against extreme efforts to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage, and I’m proud to stand with him in support of workers across the country.”
“Michigan is home to thousands of skilled workers who stand ready to construct the roads, bridges and buildings of the future,” said Mike Jackson, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights. “Infrastructure investments have the potential to create new job opportunities across Michigan, but only if they comply with existing labor protections and prevailing wage laws. I thank Senator Peters for the invitation to attend the State of the Union address and I hope the President will outline exactly how his Administration will uphold protections for skilled workers.”
The Davis-Bacon Act requires contractors on a federally-funded project pay at least the local prevailing wage to workers. Michigan also has a state law that requires the local prevailing wage to be applied for any infrastructure project that uses state funds. This ensures that skilled workers are paid a fair wage and completed projects are both safe and high-quality. Prevailing wage laws are proven to save taxpayer money, as projects done under this law are more durable and more likely to be completed on time.
Despite these protections, there have been ongoing efforts to minimize or eliminate prevailing wages. The Davis-Bacon Act has been temporarily suspended in the past, most recently in a number of states after Hurricane Katrina. In 2015, the Michigan State Senate approved repealing the Michigan’s prevailing wage law, and there is currently an ongoing effort to repeal the prevailing wage through ballot initiative. Repealing the prevailing wage would have a devastating impact on Michigan’s economic recovery. According to one recent study, repealing the prevailing wage would cost Michigan 11,000 jobs and $700 million in construction investments that would go to other states.
Senator Peters has been a strong advocate for worker protections. Last year, he pressed Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao during her confirmation hearing on the need to uphold the Davis-Bacon Act. Chao served as Secretary of Labor when the law was most recently suspended. Peters has previously voted against Republican-led efforts to weaken the Davis-Bacon Act.