Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Philadelphia earlier this week to make an announcement regarding a new Labor Department regulation. Endorsed by the Biden administration, it is aimed at fortifying wages for construction trades workers nationwide.
The revised rule, announced by Harris and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, redefines the definition of prevailing wages within the framework of the Davis-Bacon Act—a federal law governing pay standards for construction workers on federal projects. The updated guideline would link wages to "the earnings of at least 30% of workers," according to a fact sheet provided before the official announcement. Currently, the prevailing wage standard, put in place during the Reagan era, stands at 50 percent.
“We strongly believe every worker deserves fair wages for their work,” Harris said in remarks at the Finishing Trades Institute. “I’m here today to announce that we are updating this law and giving workers across the nation a raise.”
Furthermore, the adjusted rule is anticipated to extend prevailing wage coverage to encompass energy infrastructure projects. It would allow local and state assessments to determine federal rates provided specific criteria are met.
A senior administration official added that the law is designed to provide, “safeguards against the possibility that the federal government’s extensive construction contracting activity — that we don’t have the unintended consequence of depressing workers’ wages.”
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