The state has temporarily suspended its new prevailing-wage reporting law, according to the Associated Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin Inc., which has filed a request for an injunction to block enforcement of the law.
But officials with the state departments of Justice and Workforce Development would not confirm the reporting requirements have been suspended. Bill Cosh, spokesman for the Department of Justice, said any agreement between the state and ABC would be presented Wednesday in Dane County Circuit Court during a scheduling conference for the injunction.
ABC Vice President John Mielke said Tuesday attorneys representing the state, ABC and DWD agreed to a temporary suspension. He said it was not determined when the suspension would be lifted.
“Someone threw out March 15 as a possibility, but that’s something that’s going to be talked about (Wednesday),” Mielke said. “I think it’s going to be at least 30 days or more.”
The state’s new prevailing wage law took effect Jan. 1, and Sunday was scheduled as the deadline for the first wage reports. But ABC last week filed its request for an injunction, which is awaiting a judge’s decision.
ABC’s chief objection to the reporting requirement is DWD wants far more than statute requires. The statute, approved in June as part of the state budget, calls for reports to include contractors’ names, the type of work performed by every employee on a prevailing-wage project, an accurate record of all hours worked and the wages paid for that work.
But instead of breaking the reporting sheet into those four fields, DWD gave contractors 50 fields to complete. Those fields were not finalized until last month, and Mielke said many contractors are still unaware of the reporting requirements.
Mielke said the temporary suspension will not deter ABC’s fight.
“It’s a good move because contractors everywhere are scrambling,” he said. “But we still contend that the reporting goes too far.”
Details for contractors have been in short supply since the statute was approved last summer, Mielke said, and the lack of information about the suspension continues the trend.
“The irony of this is that in talking with the department (Tuesday), we asked whether they were going to inform contractors,” Mielke said. “They said, ‘Well, we’re sure you’ll inform your members.’ Well, yeah, but there are a lot of other contractors out there besides our members.”
READ A RELATED STORY FROM THE DAILY REPORTER