PREVAILING WAGE

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horsegoer

Senior Member
Location
NJ
How does PW affect a union contractor? I believe non-union shops can bid but everyone has same set wage? THanks
 

bbaumer

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
PW gives the union contractor a chance to win the job.

A better chance yes.

Where I live and even with Davis Bacon federal jobs the merit shops don't have to ahere to any Journeyman / Apprentice / Helper ratios so they just classify one or two guys as JW's and have a boatload of "helpers" on the job getting much less than Union JW's wages but still meeting the prevailing wage requirement.

Not saying this is good or bad or making any kind of a statement other than that has been my observation. No, I am not a member of the IBEW either.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
How? Just by being able to bid a "non-union" project? Thanks.

The theory is that the union contractor, who is likely paying higher wages/benefits will be able to compete since the non-union contractor will have to pay the same (prevailing) wages.
 

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
A better chance yes.

Where I live and even with Davis Bacon federal jobs the merit shops don't have to ahere to any Journeyman / Apprentice / Helper ratios so they just classify one or two guys as JW's and have a boatload of "helpers" on the job getting much less than Union JW's wages but still meeting the prevailing wage requirement.

Not saying this is good or bad or making any kind of a statement other than that has been my observation. No, I am not a member of the IBEW either.

I have worked PW jobs in numerous states across the country. I have never worked in any area where a company could have as many helpers as they want. All the helpers had to be apprentices in a state registered program and the ratios were dictated by the USDOL, and every area was different. For that reason we did not use any helpers except in the state we were from.
 

Fulthrotl

~Autocorrect is My Worst Enema.~
The theory is that the union contractor, who is likely paying higher wages/benefits will be able to compete since the non-union contractor will have to pay the same (prevailing) wages.

UCLA had both union, and open shop sparkys on the same building at the same time, about 8 years ago.
a prevailing wage job.... the union sparkys, with the negotiated contract, were making about 7~8 bucks an
hour less on the check than the open shop guys, cause of different benefits, dues, etc.

the mood was ugly, to say the least.

i wasn't working there, but on payday, the open shop guys would leave check stubs
laying around on the jobsite, just as a goad. the result was predictable.
 

masterinbama

Senior Member
As far as the JW apprentice/ helper ratio goes. If it's a Davis Bacon Federal prevailing wage project there are strict ratios and they are checked by the payroll office or officer.
Now State regulated PW projects don't have set nationwide ratios.
 

lefty

Member
Location
Oklahoma
enforcement

enforcement

Most jobs I've been on, the inspectors or whoever was designated to "interview" did it from the office looking at the certified payroll that was turned in. It is not checked, and not enforced unless somebody is talking. If they have complaint letter signed, they will sure do some digging. Oklahoma and I believe Texas also doesn't have little bacon jobs, but they have big bacon, Federal. Alaska has both.
 

Smart $

Esteemed Member
Location
Ohio
UCLA had both union, and open shop sparkys on the same building at the same time, about 8 years ago.
a prevailing wage job.... the union sparkys, with the negotiated contract, were making about 7~8 bucks an
hour less on the check than the open shop guys, cause of different benefits, dues, etc.

the mood was ugly, to say the least.

i wasn't working there, but on payday, the open shop guys would leave check stubs
laying around on the jobsite, just as a goad. the result was predictable.
Irony at its finest :slaphead:
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Irony at its finest :slaphead:

I have often found the genesis of Bacon-Davis to be quite interesting.

For those who were not alive in 193?, I will summerize by saying it was almost entirely about keeping southern black tradesman from working on projects in the north. Some of the debate that went on about it is as racially offensive as it comes measured by today's standards. Not so much back then. At least they were honest about the true purpose back then.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
I have often found the genesis of Bacon-Davis to be quite interesting.

For those who were not alive in 193?, I will summerize by saying it was almost entirely about keeping southern black tradesman from working on projects in the north. Some of the debate that went on about it is as racially offensive as it comes measured by today's standards. Not so much back then. At least they were honest about the true purpose back then.

The way I heard it was somewhat different. Construction companies would contract with southern prisons to "rent" the prisoners for construction projects in the north. Since the rental was pennies per man per day, local tradesmen couldn't compete, even with the guards and barracks the construction companies had to provide. By forcing the same wages to be paid (no matter whose pocket they went into), the out-of-town companies couldn't compete anymore. But I could be wrong; it's been known to happen :D.
 

Fulthrotl

~Autocorrect is My Worst Enema.~
I have often found the genesis of Bacon-Davis to be quite interesting.

For those who were not alive in 193?, I will summerize by saying it was almost entirely about keeping southern black tradesman from working on projects in the north. Some of the debate that went on about it is as racially offensive as it comes measured by today's standards. Not so much back then. At least they were honest about the true purpose back then.

wikipedia has a fair bit on davis bacon....

"Beyond that, the legislative history of Davis-Bacon reflects a clear desire by Congress
to reserve jobs on federal projects for local workers. Not only did local workers complain
about non-locals taking these jobs, but Congressmen were frustrated that their efforts
to bring "pork barrel" projects home to their districts did not result in jobs
(and therefore political support) from their constituents."

first and foremost, it's a political issue at this point, and it's main purpose at this time,
beyond the one mentioned above, is to prevent contractors from bringing in labor and
paying them less than fair market value for the area.

several years ago, SCE divested itself of a local powerplant here that had been built in
the late 60's, and never, ever used after commissioning. it was for future expansion,
and was oil fired, and never put into service. SCE sold it, and the buyer brought in a
contractor with a couple hundred employees from arizona, working seven days a week,
for almost a year, on the retrofit to natural gas.

davis bacon was not observed. so the wage being paid was about half of what the
prevailing wage for this area.

it wasn't due to lack of local labor. there was significant unemployment here at the time.

some may cheer, citing "free market economy", some may boo, hollering "fraud".

what my observation was, is that i drove past a powerplant 3 miles from my house,
to drive 135 miles one way, to work on a powerplant, because 200 people were
living in trailers on or adjacent to the site, working for half the hourly wage that
was prevailing in this area at the time, in violation of federal law that was in force at
the time.

it's a shame we can't outsource political offices to India.
and the practice of law, to hell.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
wikipedia has a fair bit on davis bacon....

"Beyond that, the legislative history of Davis-Bacon reflects a clear desire by Congress
to reserve jobs on federal projects for local workers. Not only did local workers complain
about non-locals taking these jobs, but Congressmen were frustrated that their efforts
to bring "pork barrel" projects home to their districts did not result in jobs
(and therefore political support) from their constituents."

first and foremost, it's a political issue at this point, and it's main purpose at this time,
beyond the one mentioned above, is to prevent contractors from bringing in labor and
paying them less than fair market value for the area.

several years ago, SCE divested itself of a local powerplant here that had been built in
the late 60's, and never, ever used after commissioning. it was for future expansion,
and was oil fired, and never put into service. SCE sold it, and the buyer brought in a
contractor with a couple hundred employees from arizona, working seven days a week,
for almost a year, on the retrofit to natural gas.

davis bacon was not observed. so the wage being paid was about half of what the
prevailing wage for this area.

it wasn't due to lack of local labor. there was significant unemployment here at the time.

some may cheer, citing "free market economy", some may boo, hollering "fraud".

what my observation was, is that i drove past a powerplant 3 miles from my house,
to drive 135 miles one way, to work on a powerplant, because 200 people were
living in trailers on or adjacent to the site, working for half the hourly wage that
was prevailing in this area at the time, in violation of federal law that was in force at
the time.

it's a shame we can't outsource political offices to India.
and the practice of law, to hell.

I can appreciate your frustration, but SCE (I assume it's Sothern California Edison) is a private company. I assume they sold the plant to another private company. Only federal projects are subject to Davis-Bacon, and only state projects are subject to state prevailing wage laws. From what I can see, there was absolutely no violation here.
 

Fulthrotl

~Autocorrect is My Worst Enema.~
I can appreciate your frustration, but SCE (I assume it's Sothern California Edison) is a private company. I assume they sold the plant to another private company. Only federal projects are subject to Davis-Bacon, and only state projects are subject to state prevailing wage laws. From what I can see, there was absolutely no violation here.

are we going to cloud the issue with facts? ;-)

it did occur to me after concluding the rant that what you are saying is in fact the case.....
but it was an especially fine rant, as most non fact based rants are, so i left it up....

i'd still like to outsource political offices to india.......

as for outsourcing lawyers to hell, it occurred to me that hell is largely
populated by attorneys, and there is not enough clients down there
for them to file suits, that's why they call it hell.....
 
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