Wisconsin has come in 5th in the Associated Builders and Contractors’ annual ranking of state’s reliance on “merit shop” principles in their regulation and governance of the construction industry.
The ABC, a national trades group, gave Wisconsin “As” for its career and technical-schooling opportunities, lack of prevailing-wage requirement, adoption of a right-to-work law and ban on project-labor agreements that give union contractors an advantage in public bidding. Wisconsin received “Bs” for its public-private partnerships and job-growth rate and a “C” for its workforce-development initiatives.
Wisconsin has advanced quickly in the ABC’s annual rankings in recent years. In 2016, the year that Republican state lawmakers achieved the ABC priority of eliminating prevailing-wage requirements on local projects, Wisconsin came in 21st in the ranking.
The ABC’s “Merit Shop Scorecard” is an attempt to grade all 50 states on their adherence to merit-shop principles, which generally hold that union affiliation should have no bearing on employment matters or a company’s ability to win contracts. Of Wisconsin’s neighbors, Iowa came in 7th in the ABC’s ranking, Michigan 15th, Minnesota 41st and Illinois 46th.