Overview of the Davis Bacon Act

May 2, 2012 — 1,458 views  

The Davis Bacon Act is a federal law enacted in 1931 to prevent companies from low-balling public work bids by paying reduced wages. Pennsylvania Senator James Davis and Congressman Robert Bacon introduced the bill to provide market stability and reduce abuses, according to Solidarity.com.

The primary defense of the bill was demonstrated in a detailed account of how an Alabama construction firm low bid for a public works project in New York to win the job. The Alabama construction company was able to underbid New York competition by transporting thousands of unskilled workers from the Southern state and paying them the wage of their home state, instead of the much higher Northern standard.

Now, the Davis Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) requires all contractors and subcontractors working on a federal or District of Columbia contract in excess of $2,000 to pay laborers not less than the prevailing wage rates and benefits of their local working peers, according to the Department of Labor. The prevailing wage rates and benefits are outlined by the Secretary of Labor.