What was the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931?

The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 refers to a United States law that regulates pay for workers when working on federally funded or assisted contracts. The law states that, for any contracts over $2,000 involving construction, alteration or repair of public buildings or projects, contractors and subcontractors must be paid the local prevailing wage. This was signed into law to prevent a “race to the bottom,” where employers use low-cost or migrant labor in an effort to curb construction costs, regardless of the impact to work quality.

This law has been amended several times to better align with modern building standards and economic changes, but remains a key piece of legislation that’s aimed at supporting the blue collar men and women who build the structures, roads and bridges we all rely on.

As a federal law, the Davis-Bacon Act is still at work in Minnesota, where support for prevailing wage standards demand that union workers be compensated at a fair rate for government contracts.

To learn more about how Davis-Bacon is still upholding pay standards for all Minnesotans, take a look at these related stories.