NSPS scored a big victory when the Department of Labor rescinded (AAM) 212, an Obama-era guidance issued in 2013 that defined members of survey crews as “laborers and mechanics” under the Davis-Bacon Act, mandating the “prevailing wage” on a broader range of construction stake-out surveys all Federally-funded construction projects.
The Trump Administration released a new document, AAM 235 on December 14. It notes “AAM 212 is rescinded effective immediately.”
AAM 212 reversed more than 50 years of accepted policy, dating back to the administration of President John F. Kennedy, that the prevailing wage mandate of the Davis-Bacon Act only applied to members of survey crews as “laborers and mechanics” to the extent they perform activities on a Federally-funded construction project site “such as clearing brush and sharpening stakes”.
Since the issuance of AAM 212, NSPS has been on a nearly 7-year campaign to seek rescission of the policy. It included testimony before Congress, meetings with individual Congressmen and Senators, letters by design and construction trade associations and professional societies and taxpayer groups, earning the assistance of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and longstanding negotiations with the Department of Labor and the Wage and Hour Division.
NSPS argued that application of the controversial Depression-era Davis-Bacon Act was unnecessary and imposed a considerable burden on surveying firms, many of which are small businesses. The Obama Administration’s policy was implemented with no public notice, no opportunity for public comment, no consultation with NSPS, no analysis of its economic impact or effect on small business, and no demonstration of the need. The new guidance returns to the JFK-era standard, issued by then-Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg, who later became a Supreme Court Justice.
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—Info provided by John M. Palatiello & Associates