CHANTILLY, VA — The Fair Contracting Coalition, which includes the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA), Mechanical Contractors Association of American (MCAA), National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), and other contractors, is urging the White House and the Congress to stop stalling major construction bills due to “a narrow and misguided opposition to paying prevailing wages.”

The large-ticket construction bills addressed by the Fair Contracting Coalition include the Homeland Security Bill, water treatment construction legislation, and school construction bond reform bills. According to SMACNA, the projects represent tens of billions of dollars in construction and have been held up from final action by Republican leaders in the House and Senate even though all have bipartisan support.

The coalition says it took exception to Bush administration and Republican congressional leadership contentions that the inclusion of prevailing wages on federally assisted or direct federal construction would mark a major expansion of the Davis-Bacon Act and that the act inflates costs for federal construction projects.

According to the coalition:

  • Davis-Bacon does not require union wage rates. Approximately 75% of the wage rates published by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) are below the local union negotiated rates.

  • Payment of locally prevailing wages does not increase costs. A number of studies of actual construction costs for public and private buildings refute the anecdotal assumptions that higher wages mean higher project costs.

  • Minority organizations from across the country are strong advocates of prevailing wage laws and their strict enforcement.

    For more information on the Fair Contracting Coalition, visit (website).

    Publication date: 09/30/2002