Prevailing Wages: Good for Workers Good for the Community

In recent years prevailing wage policies also known as Davis-Bacon laws have been hotly debated by city councils, state legislatures, and the United States Congress. What’s often missing from these discussions is the voice of working people. The broader impact of prevailing wage on communities usually goes unreported. However, Southwest Carpenters are from the community, and for the community—there is no debate, we must protect prevailing wage!

In 2016 New Mexico’s state officials had their own discussion about prevailing wage, and the results were House Bills 110 & 200, proposals to cut and ultimately eliminate the state’s prevailing wage standards. The costs of such actions far exceed the benefits. HB 110 & 200 would’ve increased costs for New Mexico’s taxpayers through reduced economic activity, increased poverty, and expenses on public assistance. According to Smart Cities Prevail,  each year losses in economic activity across all industries tally up to $288 million Additionally, by underpaying workers states and local governments lose $7.7 million. Out-of-state contractors nab $160 million of business from our communities, too.

In the Southwest, we believe in hiring the best craftsmen in the community, on every project, but public works most of all because projects built with taxpayer dollars should benefit the greater good. Using union workers helps control construction costs by increasing project efficiency, which makes projects built with prevailing wage standards more likely to come in on time and on budget. More local spending and higher wages boosts local, state, and federal tax revenues by billions of dollars.

Join the fight and stand up for your community by defending prevailing wage laws also known as Davis-Bacon laws, or as we in the industry call them Big Bacon and Little Bacon laws.