Aug. 8’s announcement makes some improvements but critically misses an opportunity to improve the wage determination process and further burdens overregulated construction contractors building and upgrading the nation’s infrastructure.
The Associated General Contractors of America’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to the emerging details of the final rule to amend regulations issued under the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts:
“With an over 800-page rulemaking, where AGC is cited over 60 times, there is a lot to analyze to get a solid understanding of the full impact such a massive rulemaking will have on the federal construction market. A preliminary analysis shows that while more work will be covered, this rulemaking critically missed an opportunity to improve the wage determination process. The 40-year awaited update reverts to the pre-1983 methodology for determining whether a wage rate is prevailing, also referred to as the “30 percent rule.” Just as proposed, this final rule appears to make it easier on the Department of Labor itself to set prevailing wages with less of the data it already collects, or lack thereof.
“AGC holds that the DOL’s almost exclusive reliance on voluntary surveys to produce and update wage determinations has created a compensation system for Davis-Bacon covered construction that poorly reflects the construction labor market in many parts of the country. AGC recommended the DOL should instead focus on how to collect more accurate data, instead of being able to rely on less, or even at times inappropriate data, to determine wages that are truly prevailing.
“While we look forward to working with the DOL on implementation of the rule, we will continue to evaluate all our options on behalf of our members.”