The federal Davis-Bacon and Related Acts govern wage requirements for contractors and subcontractors performing federally funded or assisted contracts in excess of $2,000. Administered through an unscientific and fundamentally flawed survey process by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), these so-called “prevailing” wages hinder economic growth, increase the federal deficit, and impose enormous burdens. Davis-Bacon stifles contractor productivity by raising project costs, and imposes rigid craft work rules that ignore skill differences.

ABC supports full repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, as well as any state and local prevailing wage laws that mandate wage and benefit rates that do not reflect the current construction market. In the absence of full repeal, ABC also continues to support legislative and regulatory efforts designed to mitigate the Act’s negative effects. ABC opposes expansion of Davis-Bacon into areas of public and private projects in which it has not been previously mandated.

For a summary of studies on the impact of prevailing wage, click here.

May 17, 2022, ABC submitted a comment letter urging the U.S. Department of Labor to withdraw its proposed rule, Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations:

“The DOL’s proposed rule does little to improve or modernize Davis-Bacon Act regulations in the face of decades of complaints by government officials, taxpayer watchdogs and industry stakeholders critical of this regulatory boondoggle well-known for increasing the cost of construction, discouraging competition from small businesses and diminishing the value of taxpayer investment in government infrastructure projects,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “Instead, the proposed rule fails to fix the DOL’s unscientific wage determination process, rescinds modest pro-taxpayer reforms made by the Reagan administration and illegally increases regulatory burdens on small businesses, new industries and more public works projects.

“For years, ABC has called for reforms to confusing DOL red tape and unclear policies which—coupled with a dysfunctional wage determination process—have resulted in a broken system rigged by special interests and sympathetic bureaucrats to help make unionized contractors and union labor more competitive on public works projects,” said Brubeck. “With the Biden administration promoting itself as the most pro-union administration in history, it is little surprise that the DOL missed an opportunity for meaningful regulatory reform and actively made Davis-Bacon Act regulations worse.

“Voters should know this proposed rule could not come at a worse time, as it will exacerbate the inflationary headwinds facing the construction industry—supply chain disruptionshigh materials costs and a skilled labor shortage of 650,000—and fail to improve the timeliness and quality of taxpayer-funded construction projects,“ said Brubeck. “This proposal will ultimately result in less value and job creation from taxpayer investment in infrastructure––including the $550 billion of new infrastructure funding via the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

A final rule is expected as soon as February 2023. Stay tuned for additional updates

Resources:

 

Access ABC’s state prevailing wage law research database (Updated June 1, 2021) 
 State Prevailing Wage Law Research Database

 


Wage Determinations

Visit Sam.gov, the government website where contractors can obtain government-determined prevailing wage determination (WDs) for contracts subject to the Davis-Bacon Act.

DAVIS-BACON ACT COMPLIANCE INFORMATION

Prevailing Wage Resource Book
Visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division website on Davis-Bacon and Related Acts for guidance, fact sheets, e-tools, posters, forms, guidance and additional resources.

The Prevailing Wage Resource Book was developed by the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division as a training tool for use in prevailing wage conferences.

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division’s Field Operations Handbook includes a chapter with helpful language on the Davis-Bacon Act and Related Acts, the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.