Davis-Bacon Act

(redirected from Davis-Bacon Act of 1931)
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Davis-Bacon Act

A federal law requiring certain minimum levels of wages for all workers involved in construction on federal projects or federally funded projects. The purpose was to give local contractors an opportunity to participate in government contracts, even though out-of-town contractors might have access to cheaper labor and would therefore enjoy a competitive advantage in bidding.The other purpose was to prevent contractors from paying lower wages than currently prevailing in the local marketplace,thereby reducing wages for the entire area.The Act is looked upon as one favoring unions,although that was not the intent.In fact,the Act had an unsavory beginning, introduced by Representative Bacon in 1927 as a reaction to a contractor who hired poor black laborers from Alabama to build a veterans hospital in Bacon's district of Long Island.The Act does not require payment of union wages,merely payment of wages consistent with those prevailing in the community. Today, the Act is still alive and well, and garnered tremendous public support when President Bush attempted to temporarily suspend it for contractors working in hurricane-damaged parts of the country.