Some DOL ‘prevailing wage’ scales based on data from the 1980s

The Davis Bacon Act, signed into law during the Great Depression, requires most federal government contractors to pay their employees what’s known as a “prevailing wage” that is typically much higher than the minimum wage. It was meant to force contractors to pay their workers something close to what others in the same geographic area get for doing the same work.

So why are some employees of federal contractors in North Carolina, Texas and other locations earning as little as $7.25 per hour?

Because the U.S. Department of Labor, which is in charge of enforcing the Davis Bacon Act, is setting prevailing wages for some occupations based on data collected more than 30 years ago. The allegations appeared in a report by Bloomberg News.

The outdated pay scales primarily affect construction workers helping to build federally funded projects, including carpenters, concrete finishers and heavy equipment operators.

No word yet on how the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division will respond.