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From the category archives: Davis-Bacon Act

DOL Inspector General Releases Report on Davis-Bacon Wage Audit

On March 29, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General released an audit examining the DOL’s Wage and House Divisions survey process for collecting and determining the prevailing wage rate in four types of construction projects. According to the report, the OIG found that, as of September 2018, 3% of WHD’s 134,738 unique published rates, roughly 4,400, had not been updated in 21 to 40 years. Additionally, of seven sampled surveys that analyzed 124 wage rates, the OIG found 48% of the rates were not determined from data about a single construction worker within the 31 counties that the published rates represented. Finally, the report found union wages prevailed for 48% of the wage determinations, despite the fact that just 12.8% of the U.S. private construction workforce is unionized.

 

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The Heritage Foundation: Labor Department Can Create Jobs by Calculating Davis–Bacon Rates More Accurately

According to a report issued by the Heritage Foundation, the United States Department of Labor   uses unscientific and flawed methods to estimate the Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage rates. The report found, amongst other findings, that current surveys do not use statistically representative samples have tiny sample sizes and combine data from economically unrelated counties or set local wages using statewide data. Furthermore, nearly half of the surveys are over a decade old and don’t account for economic changes over the last ten year. The report concludes by suggesting the DOL should switch to Bureau of Labor Statistics data to get a more accurate reading of wage data.

 

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George Mason University: Prevailing Wage Legislation and the Continuing Significance of Race

A study released in June 2018 by the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School found that prevailing wage laws discriminate against minority construction workers who have been traditionally underrepresented in labor unions. By examining the Davis-Bacon Act and the original intent of the law to exclude African-American construction workers from working on federal projects, to looking at the continuing effects of prevailing wage laws and the lack of minority participation in labor unions, the authors conclude  that prevailing wage legislation has been a disaster for minority construction workers.

 

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Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence Finds Flawed and Outdated Prevailing Wage Calculation Process

A study released by the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence found that the
prevailing wage determination process utilized by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry leads to inaccurate wage rates on construction projects. A disproportionate 75 percent of prevailing wages reflected union rates in the period analyzed in the study, even though just 32 percent of private construction workers in Minnesota belong to a union. The authors also discovered that 72 percent of all prevailing wage rates were set using old rates, imported rates or a combination of both.  

 

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