The Davis-Bacon Act – Construction workers or coal miners?
Abstract: The Davis-Bacon Act, which mandates that workers on federal jobs be paid prevailing wages, has given rise to many conflicts over the years. In 2004, West Virginia approved a Davis-Bacon exemption for coal miners spreading mine spoil along a 14-mile roadway and adjacent property intended for commercial development. A labor group brought suit, claiming that the exemption violated federal and state prevailing wage laws. But a federal judge determined that the mere involvement of workers and a construction project doesn’t necessarily mean the law’s protections can be enforced by unions, unless the union can show that the failure to pay prevailing wages caused a direct loss to the union itself.