Mike Pounovich and Marc Poulos
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked an Obama administration rule to extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million salaried workers from taking effect, imperiling one of the outgoing president’s signature achievements for boosting wages.
Veterans work in construction at higher rates than non-veterans. And the military invests heavily in training for these types of jobs – providing 22 percent of all skilled trade apprenticeships in the country today.
Research and our own experience inside the industry shows that the key policy driving many veterans and others into these middle-class construction careers is prevailing wage laws – the minimum wage for skilled construction work. Prevailing wage laws not only make veterans more likely to pursue a career in the trades, they also reduce the likelihood of a veteran in construction living in poverty by as much as 30 percent. They promote higher workmanship, safety, and efficiency standards on public construction projects. And by virtue of providing more working families with money to spend in their communities, they are proven to boost job creation across all sectors of the economy.
While these laws were created by Republicans and have long enjoyed broad bipartisan support, many in President-elect Trump’s party are calling for their repeal. Vice President-elect Mike Pence repealed Indiana’s prevailing wage in 2015, and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has gone so far as to hold the entire state budget hostage over a similar demand.