Prevailing Wage

In 2015, the Wisconsin legislature repealed prevailing wage protections on local public works projects. Now, State Legislators are threatening to repeal prevailing wage protections on state projects, such as agency buildings, roads and university projects.

Contact you State legislators today and tell them to protect Wisconsin workers and contractors by supporting prevailing wage. See below for more information on the benefits of prevailing wage.

To find the telephone number or email address of your State legislators, click here.


What is the prevailing wage?

A fair minimum wage for the skilled construction tradesmen and women working on our public infrastructure.

It’s only fair to be paying those workers a wage that is in line with their skills, training and experience.


Prevailing wage laws protect Wisconsin contractors and workers and keep taxpayer infrastructure dollars in Wisconsin.

There has been a 53% increase in local government public works projects being awarded to out-of-state contractors since the repeal of prevailing wage protection on local projects. 53% in less than 6 months.

Repealing prevailing wage laws will result in a projected $500 Million in construction value being completed by out of state contractors on an annual basis.

Out of State Contractor Awards up 53%, Wisconsin Contractor Coalition (May 2017); Weakening Prevailing Wage Hurts Local Contractors And Workers, Economic Commentary #40, Midwest Economic Public Policy Institute (June 2015); How Weakening Wisconsin’s Prevailing Wage Policy Would Affect Public Construction Costs and Economic Activity, Duncan & Lantsberg (May 2015).


Construction worker wages will be cut if prevailing wage laws are repealed.

Repeal is projected to reduce construction worker income, health, and retirement benefits by $756 Million annually.

Decrease in state and local tax revenue and increase in government assistance for employees whose wages will be lowered is estimated to cost Wisconsin $247-$337 Million annually.

How Weakening Wisconsin’s Prevailing Wage Policy Would Affect Public Construction Costs and Economic Activity, Duncan & Lantsberg (May 2015); The social Costs of Repealing Wisconsin’s Prevailing Wage Law, Midwest Economic Policy Institute (June 2017);.


There are no taxpayer savings from repealing prevailing wage laws.

The Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau has advised legislators that there are no budget savings by repealing prevailing wage laws, and the Governor’s 2017-19 budget has no budget savings assigned to repeal.

As little as 20% of the cost of public construction projects is labor, which means the claims of huge savings are untrue.

Prevailing Wage Laws and 2015 Assembly Bill 32, Wis. Leg. Fiscal Bureau (May 2015); Wisconsin’s Prevailing-Wage Law, An Economic Impact Analysis, Philips (April 2015).


You get what you pay for.

Wisconsin’s worker are more productive and efficient than workers in states without prevailing wage laws. This means that Wisconsin’s infrastructure is constructed cheaper, faster and correctly the first time.

Why are Wisconsin construction workers more productive and efficient? Because the private construction trades spend $30 Million annually on education, training and safety. States that repealed prevailing wage law experienced sharp decline in private construction trades training.

Wisconsin is already experiencing a worker shortage and a skills gaps. Repealing prevailing wage will only make the problem worse.

Wisconsin’s Prevailing-Wage Law, An Economic Impact Analysis, Philips (April 2015); Road and Bridge Construction Workers in the Midwest, Manzo & Bruno (March 2015).