DOL proposes new Davis-Bacon rules

Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh rolled out new rulemaking proposals for the first time in nearly 40 years to change the Davis-Bacon Act, which sets the prevailing wages contractors must pay workers on federal projects. Under the current process, at least 51% of surveyed wages need to be within a “same or similar” margin. If they’re not, the weighted average — as opposed to a simple average — of all wages is used. That means more frequent occurrences of low wages could drag down the overall rate. Under the once-and-proposed setup, if the 51% threshold is met, that’s the prevailing wage, just like now. But if it’s not, the new rule would allow just 30% of same or similar wages to be used. If that bar can’t be achieved, a weighted average would then be used. “NABTU commends the Biden administration for today’s proposal to bring the Davis-Bacon Act’s 41-year-old regulations into the 21st century,” said Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions group, in a statement.

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