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Republicans and Democrats Alike Should Reject Proposal to Slash Construction Workers’ Wages

Washington, D.C. (January 26, 2017) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement today regarding Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s attempt to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act:

Earlier this week, LIUNA applauded when President Trump and Senate Democrats pledged a massive investment to create good-paying jobs repairing and building America’s ailing infrastructure. Sadly, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake has set out to slash the wages and benefits of the hard-working, blue-collar men and women who will do this critical work. Under the law he wants to repeal, the wage on federally funded construction projects in Arizona is a little more than $15 an hour. Yet, as he drives by in air-conditioned comfort, Senator Flake thinks the working class builders he sees toiling in hundred-degree heat are overpaid for their backbreaking labor. How shameful.

 

For more than 80 years, the Davis-Bacon Act has successfully ensured not only that all contractors bidding on federal construction projects will pay family-supporting wages, but that these projects will be built to the highest standards by skilled, safe, well-trained construction craftspeople. The projects built under the Davis-Bacon Act have stood the test of time while enabling generations of these craftspeople to build better, stronger lives for themselves and their families.

 

Far from saving taxpayers money, repealing the Davis-Bacon Act would lower the quality of projects, leading to costly delays, repairs, and even re-dos down the line, leaving taxpayers holding the bag. Lowering these wages also would dry up local and state tax revenue, creating a race to the bottom that benefits no one.

 

Senator Flake’s proposal is out of step with the President’s pledge to create middle-class jobs, out of step with ordinary Americans who for too long have had to make do with less, and even out of step with many in his own party who support the Davis-Bacon Act.

 

LIUNA will work with anyone we can to create good jobs repairing, strengthening, and expanding America’s infrastructure. We will fight everyone we must to protect the law that has for generations ensured these jobs pay decent wages.

 

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The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.