The Davis Bacon Act
The Davis Bacon Act was enacted in 1931 in response to the Great Depression. Since the Federal Government is one of the largest purchasers of construction services and seeks the lowest bid, the Davis Bacon Act was meant to prevent the undercutting of employees’ wages in a given locality by non-local contractors that hired cheaper southern labor and immigrants at very low wages. When the Act was introduced, 50% of all construction services were being purchased by the Federal Government. The vast unemployment during the 1930's meant most workers during this period would work for next to nothing. The Act was meant to give local workers an advantage in gaining employment on local construction projects by mandating a prevailing wage for the classification of work in their locality, thereby protecting the rate at which those wages were commonly paid. The Act was amended in 1935 to reflect requirements that still stand today.
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