Common wage repeal heads to Senate

Indiana Statehouse
(WISH Photo/Ron Nakasone)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The common construction wage is one of the governor’s priorities and now it’s one step closer to becoming law.

The law has been used to set wages on public projects for 80 years but the governor says that if it’s eliminated taxpayers will save money.

It’s the only issue that has prompted the governor buy TV ads this year.

“So let’s put Indiana taxpayers first,” he says in an ad. “Let’s repeal the common construction law.”

In the wake of the religious freedom battle unions are hoping to make this debate about the governor.

In a new ad from the Laborers International Union, it suggests that Mike Pence is misguided.

“But some politicians who think discrimination is our way,” says an announcer, “think attacking the pay of construction workers is too.”

Democrats are fighting for the unions.

“A reasonable person should consider maintaining what we’ve got,” said Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago.)

But some Republicans say that public projects can be well executed by skilled workers even if the common wage law is repealed.

“That can be done,” said Sen. Brandt Hershman, “without continuing to allow a broken wage system to continue to operate at a cost to the taxpayer.”

The committee vote was 8 to 5 in favor of repeal with just one Republican voting no.

“And now they’re undercutting workers and lowering wages,” said Brett Voorhies of the AFL-CIO. “It’s been an awful session for workers.”

The bill to repeal the common wage law now goes to the full Senate, and when it gets to the Senate, there will be more Republicans who oppose it.

It’s likely some will attempt to delay the repeal by seeking a summer study committee.

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