The Davis-Bacon Act was passed in 1931, requiring the Secretary of Labor to determine the wages found to be “prevailing for corresponding classes of labor and mechanics employed on projects of a similar character”.
Simply put, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division periodically surveys wage and fringe benefit contributions paid to workers in four basic types of construction (building, heavy, highway and residential).
When surveys are conducted, the U.S. Department of Labor notifies contractors, unions and interested parties that it will accept payment data and fringe benefit contributions for projects under construction for a specific time period. If a survey finds more than 50% of workers in any classification are being paid at union scale under a collective bargaining agreement, the increases in the collective bargaining agreement are updated by the Wage and Hour Division and should be reflected in bid documents on projects covered by the Davis-Bacon Act. If the survey finds less than 50% of workers are being paid less than union scale, then the “prevailing” wage rate is based on an average rate paid in each classification and these rates will not be changed until another survey is conducted.
When a survey finds that union rates prevail, it is the responsibility of the Construction Department to insure that those rates are updated by the Wage and Hour Division in a timely fashion.
All LIUNA affiliates should check prevailing wage rates on a regular basis to insure the Wage and Hour Division has published accurate rates and, most importantly, check project bid specifications for accurate wage rates.
If rates are published incorrectly or are not properly reflected in project specifications, contact the Construction Department. Check Davis-Bacon rates now.
* Note: In an overwhelming majority of areas where LIUNA’s market share is above 50%, the Davis-Bacon prevailing rate is based on union collective bargaining agreements.