What Happens When Prevailing Wage Goes Away & You’re Not Covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement

April 10, 2018 - CLDC

Mike Mollo’s Story, Laborers Local 1, brick and mason tender

Prior to becoming a LIUNA Local 1 member, Mike worked for a non-union contractor on water towers primarily in Wisconsin. Since these were public works, his wages were set and protected by Wisconsin’s prevailing wage law. However, with the stroke of a pen, Wisconsin repealed the state prevailing wage for local governmental units such as villages, towns, cities, school districts, and sewerage districts. By January 1, 2017, the work Mike was performing was no longer protected by the prevailing wage law. Since he was not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, Mike felt the effects of this law change dramatically. “One day I got my check and I looked at it and I said to my boss, ‘what did you guys forget a week’?” said Mike.  His boss informed him that he was no longer getting the prevailing wage rate, so with no notice and no warning, the contractor cut Mike’s wages by more than half. “You know what’s funny about that is it’s not like the water tower company had to renegotiate their prices. No, they just got to keep all that extra money and not pay the laborer any more money. They got to keep it all and for what?” Mike said.