Vice President Harris Announces Update to Davis-Bacon Act

Aug. 9, 2023
This is the first time the Davis-Bacon Act has been updated in decades

On Tuesday, August 8, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that changes in labor laws may give construction workers who work on federal projects higher wages.

Harris said in Philadelphia that the Department of Labor (DOL) has updated the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which requires the payment of prevailing local wages on public works. This is the first time the Davis-Bacon Act has been updated in decades.

“Many workers are paid much less than they deserve, much less than the value of their work,” Harris said. “And not just by a little. In some cases, by thousands of dollars a year. And that is wrong.”

The new rule will use the definition of prevailing wage that the Labor Department previously used from 1935 to 1983, likely raising the hourly earnings of contractors and subcontractors.

According to a statement from the vice president's office, over 1 million construction workers will benefit from this ruling.

The new rule “will mean thousands of extra dollars per year in workers’ pockets to help put a down payment on a home, save for retirement, or simply have more breathing room,” the statement said.

Although workers would receive more money, critics to the new ruling have said the Davis-Bacon requirements make construction projects more expensive for taxpayers.



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