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March 28, at 8:00 AM in Ways & Means, Room 200 MN State Office Building

MN State CapitolRep. Scott’s bill (HF 1476) changing the Mode to the Mean and allowing overtime only after 40 hours total in any 7-day period will be heard.

This is the bad Associated Building Contractors bill.

Business Managers and organizers are trying to get as many people as possible to attend. 49ers need to show our opposition to this yet again by turning out as many members as we possibly can on Wednesday morning.

Yes, it’s short notice – the sponsors would prefer we stay home and let them work without expressing our outrage about cutting our wages.

Background on Prevailing Wage changes is informative, but if you want to argue against it this discussion of why the changes limit the outcomes without saving money is probably the best quick read around.

MN GOP renews War on Workers § ACTION ALERT

Fast move in MN Capitol: GOP picks 2 fights with middle class

We have been trying for the last 3 months to work with Senate Republicans in the hopes that we could convince them that Right To Work and changes to Prevailing Wage were the wrong direction for Minnesota. We made the case that they were bad policies that would hurt construction workers and their families. We made the case to them that there was much we agreed on and we should focus on working together on those issues to create jobs.

Unfortunately they have chosen to pick a fight.  Read the rest of this entry

Prevailing Wage Myths Busted

Prevailing Wage laws have been a centerpiece of Minnesota’s excellent construction industry.  In brief, these surveys of prevailing wages paid in various parts of the state allow local contractors to pay fair wages on local jobs without out-of-town fly-by-night shysters who don’t care about our communities undercutting contractor bids by slashing wages (a practice which naturally also tends to attract less-qualified workers.)Minnesota’s prevailing wage laws protect our local business owners and their workers.

There are some contractors that are unhappy their business mode (paying workers less) just doesn’t fly in Minnesota. They place similar sized bids, of course, but to compete for projects covered by prevailing wage agreements (not all construction projects are) they’d have to pay employees more fairly rather than the owner getting a big bonus. When such cut-rate business owners aren’t allowed to lowball their competitors on how little they can pay their workers, or pass along cost over-runs from slow or shoddy work — in other words when they’re forced instead to compete on skill, efficiency, and work quality — they whine, and try to change the rules.

MN prevailing age laws have protected and helped working familiesSo instead of investing in training, paying their people more or getting better at what they do – they are trying to drive wages down to their level.

This is a big issue for Minnesota’s construction workers. There is a group of people that are trying to devalue the highly-skilled, highly-trained labor that sets Minnesota well-above the average just to line the owners pockets.

Here are some of the issues that frequently are discussed regarding Prevailing Wage – it’s important to correct the myths and half-truths.
Read the rest of this entry

Cheat sheet: MN Caucuses demystified

Seven (7) easy steps, including prep:GOP logo

Participation is the key to the success of democracy.  Caucusing is a little more time-consuming than plain old primaries (usually) but you probably won’t need more than a couple hours, or even less.

Here’s an explanation of the Minnesota Caucus process, in 7 easy steps, with two sample resolutions you can offer to help steer your party to be more “labor friendly.”  That’s what caucuses allow, the chance to influence the party’s platform – for either major party the process is pretty much the same, but if you want to caucus with the Greens party or the Independence party their procedures may vary.
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Prevailing Wage rollbacks actually undermine outcomes

Hard Facts:

  • Comparing school construction costs before and after Michigan’s suspension of its prevailing wage law revealed no difference in costs.
  • National analysis of data on school construction costs reveals that prevailing wage laws do not have a statistically significant impact on cost.
  • In Pennsylvania, when prevailing wage levels were lowered substantially in rural areas during the second half of the 1990s (a period of declining unemployment and rising prices), school construction costs went up more in areas where prevailing wage levels fell the most.

The gap between “in theory” and what actually happens:

The authors of a recent survey (linked below) discovered that opponents of “Prevailing Wage” are often ignoring real-world cases and research – so opponents are perpetuating the myth that prevailing wage laws raise costs by using flawed “hypothetical” situations, assuming nothing else changes when wages and benefits on projects are slashed sharply.

But the study, as detailed in a press release late last year, makes it clear that assuming nothing else changes is – well – just a bad, unfounded assumption.
Read the rest of this entry

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