A group of Michigan construction contractors says lawmakers should not repeal the state’s prevailing wage law if they want to attract skilled workers.

The Associated General Contractors of Michigan’s July 30 Labor and Management Symposium brought many of the state’s major construction companies for an afternoon of training and discussion, including attempts to repeal the state’s prevailing wage laws.

Prevailing wage laws require that public construction contracts pay similar to what a majority of workers in a region earn. In many cases, the wages are union scale.

Bart Carrigan, president of AGC Michigan, said construction workers deserve good wages.

We’ve seen a lot of tradesmen and women leave our state in search of better opportunities. This is a critical conversation about filling a gap of skilled workers in Michigan,” Carrigan said. “Construction is one of the industries hit hardest by the recession. As the economy continues to improve, the industry needs to be proactive to retain trained and skilled workers.”