Davis Bacon and Prevailing Wages

Protecting Paychecks, Defending Taxpayers and Creating Build America Jobs

Federal Davis-Bacon law sets a wage floor for federal construction projects that prevents government spending from undermining local wages and living standards. Thirty-two states also have “Little Davis Bacon Acts” or state prevailing wage laws that apply to state-funded construction projects.

Prevailing wage laws ensure that all contractors bidding on public construction projects will pay family-supporting wages and 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 craftspeople to build better, stronger lives for themselves and their families.

Corporate interests and their advocates claim that Davis-Bacon increases taxpayer costs, but numerous studies have shown it does not. Employers who oppose prevailing wages do so because they want to cut workers’ paychecks and pocket the pay-cuts as profits.

Protecting and Strengthening Davis Bacon Prevailing Wages

The Biden Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor is aggressively enforcing prevailing wage laws and ensuring that construction workers are not short-changed of their hard-earned pay.

DOL has also proposed a historic update to protect and strengthen Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rules that will:

• Ramp up enforcement on law-breaking contractors

• Stop wage theft and misclassification

• Implement anti-retaliation protections

• Modernize the process for setting wages to strengthen the wage floor

• Return to the more fair and accurate three-step method in setting wages (a wage rate will be considered prevailing if it was paid to at least 30 percent of workers)

These updates are ground-breaking and monumental.

Davis Bacon Prevailing Wage Surveys

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for conducting wage surveys and determining the local prevailing wages. DOL collects project wage data and then determines the prevailing rates for each construction classification in each county and publishes the rates at www.wdol.gov. LIUNA participates in wage surveys to protect the livelihoods of LIUNA members. Find out more in LIUNA’s Field Guide to Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Surveys or check the prevailing wage determinations for your area.


LIUNA Defend the Prevailing Wage Toolkit

LIUNA Davis Bacon Act and Prevailing Wage Laws Fact Sheet

LIUNA Field Guide to Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Surveys

NAFC Prevailing Wage Studies and Reports