Payroll Briefs

Michigan’s House Approves Legislation to Restore Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Law

March 10, 2023

On March 8, 2023, the Democratic-led Michigan House approved a package of bills repealing the decade-old right-to-work law and restored prevailing wage requirements for government contracts. The three-bill package passed along party lines with a 56 to 53 vote. 

Under the repealed legislation, workers at a unionized private sector business who chose not to pay membership dues would still be required to pay an equivalent service fee to “share fairly in the financial support” of collective bargaining efforts. 

The restored prevailing wage requirements would guarantee union-scale wages and benefits on any government-funded construction project, including schools. In 2021, Governor Whitmer restored prevailing wage rules for state-funded projects.  

History of Right-to-Work, Prevailing Wage  

In December 2012, Michigan became a right-to-work state. The 2012 law prohibited labor contracts requiring union fees or dues as a condition of employment. Signed by then-Governor Rick Snyder, the statute was a big hit to unions in a state touted as the birthplace of the modern labor movement. At the time, the move brought thousands of protesters to Lansing to protest the bill.  

The Supreme Court, in a landmark 2018 decision, prohibited mandatory union fees at public sector employers, like schools and governments. Therefore, this repeal only applies to the private sector.  Should the Supreme Court decision ever be reversed, there was a bill passed by the Michigan House that would also repeal right-to-work for the public sector.  

How We Can Help  

The restored Michigan prevailing wage law will impact contractors working on government jobs. At DM Payroll Solutions, our software can automate the prevailing wage calculations and pay workers properly. This way you can make sure your employees are paid accurately and on time. Contact us today to learn more.