Davis-Bacon and Prevailing Wages

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The Davis-Bacon Act was enacted by Congress on March 3, 1931, to ensure local workers receive a fair wage and to provide local contractors (union and non-union) a fair opportunity to compete for federal government contracts. Under the provisions of the Act, contractors or their subcontractors are to pay workers employed directly upon the site of the work no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits paid on similar projects.

In addition to protecting the pocket book of working men and women, this legislation:

  • Encourages participation in apprenticeship programs.
  • Lowers the rate of injuries.
  • Minimizes disruption to local labor markets.
  • Ensures that minority and female workers receive prevailing wages.
The fight for Davis-Bacon and prevailing wage is a fight for the middle class.
The fight for Davis-Bacon and prevailing wage is a fight for the middle class.

Unfortunately, there are many lawmakers who believe (incorrectly) that Davis-Bacon inflates the cost of construction on projects.  They maintain that the government should be able to pay the  lowest wage possible to workers on federal projects.

If they are successful, it is projected that construction workers (union and non-union) would lose nearly $1,500 annually, or five percent of their yearly income.  That loss would not only be felt in their local economy, but it would also result in an estimated decline of $1 billion in federal tax revenues.

Not only would the repeal of Davis-Bacon and prevailing wages hurt working men and women in the wallet, it would take a toll on our recovering economy.  That’s why the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades is fighting every attempt to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and we are working with lawmakers who agree with us on both sides of the aisle.

Want to learn more? Contact the IUPAT Government Affairs Department at  governmentaffairs@iupat.org to learn more about what you can do to join the fight!




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