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SMACNA and SMART Team Up On Davis-Bacon Surveys

Aug 14, 2018

SMACNA and SMART are partnering to help local parties effectively respond to Davis-Bacon Surveys that are being conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Recognizing labor and SMACNA contractors both benefit when the collectively bargained wage rate prevails for Davis-Bacon work, SMACNA and SMART have embarked on a new joint project to educate local parties on the Labor Department’s Davis-Bacon survey process. This will help local parties develop an effective strategy to ensure a high response rate from union contractors to the survey.

The purpose of Davis- Bacon prevailing wage determination is to have a wage rate that reflects the prevailing area wages. Without significant employer participation, wage rates may not reflect actual wages or may create incomplete wage determinations which may render SMACNA contractors at a disadvantage to non-union contractors who may not provide a living wage to their workers.

“Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rates should reflect the actual wages and fringe benefits paid to construction workers where the work takes place,” said Mark Watson, Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator. “The U.S. Department of Labor can only accomplish this with strong participation by employers in the construction industry.”

These DOL surveys are conducted infrequently. Therefore, it may take over a decade for contractors, chapters, and unions to reestablish their collectively bargained rate as prevailing if they fail to respond in force to a Davis-Bacon Survey when it comes up in their area.

One of the first areas to announce a new Davis-Bacon Survey since this joint project started was the State of Maryland. SMACNA Labor Relations Services staff along with attorney Liz Nadeau, who is an expert on Davis- Bacon Surveys retained by the national Labor Management Cooperative Funds (LMCF), met with SMART Local 100 and the leadership of the SMACNA Mid-Atlantic chapter during their local LMCF meeting. The meeting provided an overview of the survey process and encouraged the local parties to work jointly on this initiative.

SMACNA and SMART will continue to work with those local areas who are currently undergoing surveys in 2018, and based on current work, will develop best practices and guidelines that other areas can use when these DOL Davis-Bacon Surveys come up in their areas.