Bipartisan Majority Again Protects Prevailing-Wage Laws


Carpenter-friendly forces in the House turned back the latest attack on Davis-Bacon prevailing wage laws in a 231-191 vote June 4, defeating an amendment seeking to totally repeal the wage protections from all Military construction.

Proving once again that it pays to have friends on both sides of the aisle, the winning majority comprised 195 Democrats plus 36 “Davis-Bacon Republicans” who openly support Carpenters on this core issue—a bloc that continues to grow with the addition of several newly elected GOP freshmen.  

The attempt to weaken prevailing wage laws and slash construction wages was the first in this session of the 113th Congress but just the latest in more than ten years and dozens of similar efforts by conservative House leaders—all defeated. As in other votes in recent years, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) offered the rejected anti-worker amendment.

The 70-year-old Davis-Bacon law uses industry surveys to establish and ensure decent, area-standard wages and benefits on publicly funded construction work. The protections mean that spending on public projects creates good jobs and economic ripple effects, while also leveling the competitive playing field for union signatories and other honest bidders.