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In the wake of the Great Depression, elected officials sought ways to help working people regain their economic respectability. One very important measure that passed during this time was the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931.

The law insures that a level playing field is used by all to pay workers employed at federally assisted construction sites. In other words, Davis-Bacon is the construction industry’s prevailing wage law. It makes sure construction workers receive a fair wage and benefits for the job they are performing in that location.

The act applies to all contractors, whether they are union or not. It makes sure building bids go to those who are qualified rather than those who offer the cheapest rates.

In the wake of the measure’s success, state and local governments have implemented their own prevailing wage laws. These jurisdictions saw that such ordinances resulted in better-trained workforces, safer job sites and work done right the first time.

Despite the fact that survey after survey has shown Davis-Bacon saves taxpayers money, efforts continue to undermine the law by some unscrupulous contractors.

The MTD, its affiliates and port maritime councils stand with our brothers and sisters from the Building and Construction Trades Department and other trade unions to uphold and protect the Davis-Bacon Act as well as state and local prevailing wage laws.

The Department also will fight to preserve the integrity of a related measure – the Service Contract Act (SCA). Since its enactment in 1965, it requires federal service contractors to pay prevailing wages and benefits.

Before the SCA became law, the federal procurement process was being used to undermine living standards for hundreds of thousands of American workers. Were it repealed, many of the workers covered by the act (including those employed at military bases to provide support services) might find it hard to take care of their families.

Both the SCA and Davis-Bacon make sure that the workers found within their separate industries are not used to generate a race to the bottom in terms of wages and benefits