ABC-WI President Mielke: Statement regarding anti-prevailing wage reform commercials

It has come to our attention that certain special interests engaged in the Wisconsin prevailing wage debate have been attempting to achieve their political goals by mischaracterizing a 2013 construction industry letter written during the debate over federal comprehensive immigration reform. I wanted to take this opportunity to set the record straight about our national organization’s immigration position.

ABC members believe that immigration reform can only be successful if it first enforces our nation’s border security laws and resolves the illegal immigration problem our nation is currently experiencing.

ABC also believes that reform can only be successful if reform proposals include a guest worker program that can respond to economic demand. ABC has long held that employers must first conduct an aggressive and comprehensive recruitment for American workers prior to engaging a guest worker or visa program. Under such a theoretical program an employer must first make a legitimate and lengthy effort to recruit an American worker at a competitive wage and if and only if they cannot find a sufficient number or qualified workers, then and only then could they attempt to fulfill their workforce needs via a guest worker program. Such a guest worker program would involve employer fees and waiting periods that would by design make it much more efficient and cost effective for employers to hire an American worker in every circumstance.

Currently, TV ads running in Wisconsin have raised alarms that guest workers will be taking Wisconsin construction jobs if prevailing wage is repealed. These ads represent a combination of fear-mongering, half-truths and outright lies. Truth be told, there is no currently existing guest worker program that would allow any employer in Wisconsin to pay a lower wage to a guest worker than they would to a Wisconsin worker. Anyone asserting otherwise either doesn’t understand current law or is intentionally misleading Badgers.