Veterans oppose repeal of state prevailing wage law - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Veterans oppose repeal of state prevailing wage law

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A Wisconsin law that pays laborers more than the market rate for state construction projects is on the chopping block in Governor Scott Walker's 2017-19 budget proposal, but veteran's groups are lobbying against the change - saying it will disproportionately hurt their members.

Republicans eliminated so-called prevailing wage provisions for all local government construction projects in the last state budget and now they want to get rid of it altogether.

Under the prevailing wage law, the state is required to pay workers a salary based on the top half of employer wages, fringe benefits and union contracts.
    
Republicans believe it ends up costing the state more than what a normal market rate would, but groups like the American Legion Department of Wisconsin say it guarantees a living wage for veterans.

Construction is the second highest employment sector for Wisconsin veterans.
 
"They're saying - can you help us?," said American Legion Commander Daniel Seehafer. "Can they do something else besides maybe balancing a budget on the back of a veteran?"

But Gov. Walker believes the measure won't harm veterans.

"I mean, the bottom line is that veteran's groups are going to get support from the state governments - whether it's in their homes, whether it's in our employment services," said Gov. Walker.

Commander Seehafer said he does appreciates the measures Governor Walker has included in his budget to help veterans, but feels saving prevailing wage would help them more than anything else.

Seehafer said veterans plan to speak out at budget hearings across the state to get the prevailing wage repeal taken out of the budget.

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