Michigan’s prevailing wage law requires contractors who bid on state, school and local government construction projects to pay wages based on union pay scales. In practice, contractors and public officials get the required wage rates from complex pay schedules and job classifications provided by union officials.

For example, in Jackson County, there are 24 different pay classifications just for a boilermaker who has up to four years of experience.

The state agency in charge has identified well over 500,000 different wage classifications in Michigan. Yet, there are a total of 162,000 construction workers in the entire state, according to information from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Detroit Prep is a top-rated and economically and racially diverse charter school in the city. It's growth means it needs to move out from a church basement and into a new location. Nearby is a former Detroit Public Schools building, sitting empty for years. But, worried about competition, the public school district refused to sell. For years, district and local government officials in Detroit had worked to block public charter schools. They pushed legislation at the Michigan Capitol to hinder them, refused to sell to them, transferred surplus buildings from the district to the city government and imposed deed restrictions on property sales to private developers. All of it was aimed to hinder or even prevent charter school choice outside the confines of the Detroit school district.

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