Washington, Nov. 7—Associated Builders and Contractors and its Southeast Texas chapter today announced filings in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, challenging the U.S. Department of Labor’s controversial final rule, Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations, which applies to federal and federally assisted construction projects funded by taxpayers.
“Far from ‘updating’ the DOL’s enforcement of the Davis-Bacon Act, the final rule returns to failed policies of the 1970s and unlawfully expands coverage of prevailing wage requirements onto new projects and industries and increases its regulatory burden on small construction contractors working on federally funded contracts,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “The DOL’s final rule forces ABC to take legal action to address its numerous illegal provisions and protect its members, the free market and taxpayers from the devastating impacts of this regulation.
“Instead of instituting commonsense reforms to Davis-Bacon regulations to ensure accurate prevailing wage determinations while providing much-needed clarity to the regulated community, the rule makes it much more likely that the DOL will adopt union wage scales as the prevailing wage at a greater frequency than in current practice,” said Brubeck. “The DBA already adopts union wage scales at improbable rates, considering just 11.7% of the construction industry is unionized. The erroneous, arbitrary and capricious changes to the implementation of the Davis-Bacon Act must be challenged to preserve fair and open competition on government construction projects, regardless of labor affiliation.
“The onerous new requirements, reduced competition and artificial inflation of construction costs imposed by this rule will only exacerbate economic headwinds and undermine taxpayer investments in infrastructure,” said Brubeck.
In October, Mario Burgos, chief strategy officer, Prairie Band LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico, testified to Congress on behalf of ABC, urging lawmakers to rein in the Biden administration’s flawed wage determination process and unclear DBA regulations. Burgos detailed his efforts to comply with a byzantine process to determine prevailing wages on federal construction projects and said the DOL’s recent rulemaking updating Davis-Bacon will only make compliance challenges worse, driving small contractors out of public works projects or even out of business.
In August, ABC pushed back on the DOL’s final rule, calling it “yet another Biden administration handout to organized labor on the backs of taxpayers, small businesses and the free market.”
In May 2022, following a survey of its membership, ABC submitted nearly 70 pages of comments on the DOL’s proposed rule––and its more than 50 significant changes––urging the DOL to withdraw the proposal.
Learn more at abc.org/davisbacon.
Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 22,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 68 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at abc.org.