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Solicitor of Labor Charles Donahue later cemented President Kennedy's policy on the matter, flatly stating that "preliminary surveys concerning construction are not subject to the Davis-Bacon Act." The policy of exempting surveyors remained for eight different administrations, but then unions began a lobbying push to have the Obama administration amend the law by fiat.
Thieblot (director, the Olin Institute Book Program) argues that the Davis-Bacon Act, first passed in 1931, is now obsolete, and that the use of prevailing wage laws in the construction industry is a waste of money.
Davis-Bacon Act mandates attached to stimulus funding of recent broadband projects, said Muse, have caused many PCCA members to deal with prevailing wage requirements for the first time and have come to realize that the wage classifications and determinations do not reflect the actual work being performed on these projects, He said PCCA is addressing this issue so that the wage classifications better match the work that employees perform and the wage determinations are what is actually paid for with that work.
Lively and those invited talked about the detrimental impact of the Davis-Bacon Act's wage determinations mandated for federally funded or assisted construction projects.
The House Education and Workforce Committee's Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing to examine the Department of Labor's (DOL) implementation of the Davis-Bacon Act, specifically concerning a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found poor data is being used to set prevailing wage rates.
The Department of Labor, which enforces the Davis-Bacon Act, issued a memorandum on the applicability of Davis-Bacon labor standards to federal and federally-assisted construction work funded in whole or in part under Division A of ARRA.
These low wages are so pervasive that even single-family rehab or weatherization programs funded with federal grants pay very little, despite the federal Davis-Bacon Act and similar local prevailing wage laws that require good wages on government-funded projects.
Davis-Bacon Act. All laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or subcontractors that work on construction contracts in excess of $2,000 financed by Recovery Act funds must be paid wages not less than those established for the locality of the project (prevailing wage rates) by the Department of Labor.
Some say legislation would be needed because the policy would conflict with current laws such as the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, which require contractors to pay local prevailing wages for construction and service work.
The Davis-Bacon Act requires that a prevailing wage be paid on all federal projects for which costs or contract price exceed $2,000, and 32 states have their own prevailing wage laws.
The genesis of the Davis-Bacon Act (named for its sponsors, Pennsylvania Senator James Davis and New York Representative Robert Bacon, both Republicans) was the construction of a Veterans Bureau Hospital on Long Island in 1927.