Posts tagged Labor Department

    Counterpoint: Davis-Bacon Requires Pork Spending, Costs Taxpayers Billions

    October 23, 2023 // The Davis-Bacon Act was passed in 1931 and was initially meant to counter a Depression-era practice of literally busing in workers from a lower-paying region so employers didn’t have to hire local workers who would not work for the wages being offered. This practice benefitted many workers, frequently African-Americans, who lived in poor regions with little work. Busing in unskilled labor is rarely a factor with the law, as most federal projects involve skilled labor. The present-day purpose behind the Davis-Bacon Act is to boost unions. The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division is the entity that surveys businesses and determines the prevailing wage for these types of projects. This wage mirrors what companies with collective bargaining contracts — union wages — pay their workers. Unions that drive up their members’ wages are thus protected from the economic consequences of doing that if their business involves federal contracts because non-unionized businesses will have to pay the same wages and, therefore lose any wage-price advantage. The AFL-CIO is one of the main boosters of the law, unsurprisingly.

    My job, my choice: The National Labor Relations Act does not require unionization

    September 7, 2023 // “[A]mbiguities of language and the absence of enforcement powers [in the NIRA] have enabled a minority of employers to deviate from the clear intent of the law and to threaten our entire program with destruction,” Wagner said in a March 11, 1934, New York Times op-ed. He repeatedly stressed it had to be the individual worker’s decision to join a union, and bristled at the claim that the Recovery Act pushed workers into unions. “[T]his bill does not do anything of this kind except that it does make a worker a free man so he may decide whether he wants a union or not,” and, Wagner said during the Senate hearings on the legislation, “if he wants one, what particular union he wants to represent him, or whether he wants to remain unorganized.” The text of the NLRA does state that federal policy favors “encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining,” but those words are almost always taken out of context. They follow a long preamble about “eliminat[ing] the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce.”

    Biden administration working overtime to regulate working overtime

    September 5, 2023 // ederal law says employees must be paid time and a half once they work more than 40 hours in a week. However, businesses may exempt workers from the requirement if their duties are “managerial” in nature and they reach a certain salary threshold. Currently, workers had to earn at least $35,500 annually before they were covered. The new rule, which goes into effect at the end of the year, raises that by almost $20,000. The administration estimates this would extend the rule to 3.6 million additional workers. The problem with the change is that it limits employers’ ability to work out alternate arrangements with employees where they work more than 40 hours in exchange for some other consideration, such as additional time off on other weeks. Under the new rule, employers are more likely to simply cut hours than to have to pay overtime at all.

    Biden’s New ‘Prevailing Wage’ Rule Will Cost Taxpayers, Benefit Unions, and Hike Inflation

    August 18, 2023 // Actually, the changes are a significant step backward. Biden is effectively undoing a major change made by the Reagan administration—changes that were made, fittingly, to help combat inflation. That change, made in 1982, repealed the "30 percent rule" that guided the process for determining what wages would be paid on which projects. Under the 30 percent rule, the prevailing wage for any particular area would be based on the highest wages paid to at least 30 percent of workers within the same area. You don't need an advanced degree in accounting to see how that mandate could artificially hike wages on federal projects. The government barred itself from even considering bids that might pay average wages, thereby obligating taxpayers to pay more than they might have had to in an open market.

    Opinion: Free Raises for Everybody. Not.

    August 17, 2023 // One obvious result will be higher costs on public works and probably fewer of them since federal dollars won’t go as far. States and localities may have to borrow more and raise taxes to fund projects. Fewer semiconductor fabs and renewable projects will probably be built since private capital won’t go as far. Another result will be less private investment, especially in housing, since contractors will have to increase wages to compete for workers with federally funded projects that must pay the prevailing wage. The rule will also reduce the competitive advantage of right-to-work states by raising the wages their contractors have to pay.

    Biden Labor Department offers new rule on “prevailing wages” that is less accurate

    August 8, 2023 // “The Biden administration’s decision to turn back the clock on Davis-Bacon Act regulations to a Carter administration-era version will benefit a few well-connected unions while raising costs on taxpayers. The administration’s new rule will allow a survey of just a third of workers to calculate the ‘prevailing wages’ to be used when awarding federal contracts. It only takes a basic understanding of math to know that that 30 percent is not a majority and therefore cannot be said to be ‘prevailing’ in any common understanding of the term. Rather this new rule will allow for cherry-picked statistics that result in wage inflation, driving up the costs of those contracts.”

    Who’s on strike and who’s close? Labor unions are flexing

    August 8, 2023 // Recent decades suggest there won’t be a strike at more than one at once. UAW (United Auto Workers) typically picks one “target” at which to focus negotiations and possibly strike and then demand that the other two unionized automakers agree to the same “pattern” deal. That one really has the chance to hurt the Democrats since the union is very upset about the auto industry plans to shift to EVs (electric vehicles). They see EVs as a jobs killer because of so many fewer parts – it takes about one-third fewer jobs to build an EV than an internal combustion engine (ICE) car. And many of the EV jobs are at battery plants being built nationwide right now, but which are joint ventures between the automakers and foreign battery companies, and thus not guaranteed to be unionized. Even if those battery plants end up with a union, it’s not clear the joint venture will agree to UAW-level wages. The one UAW-represented plant in Ohio pays roughly half of what workers are paid at an engine or transmission plant owned by one of the Big Three (US automakers) and represented by the UAW.


    May 17, 2023 // AFT president Randi Weingarten’s teaching experience is very limited. While she describes having worked as a New York City public school teacher for six years, she only worked as a regularly appointed full-time teacher for three years, after having spent three years as a per diem substitute. Documents recently obtained by the Freedom Foundation show that Weingarten has been on union leave from her teaching position for the past quarter century. Additional documents show that the Teacher Retirement System of the City of New York has credited Weingarten with nearly 11-and-a-half years of service credit for time spent out of the classroom on full-time union leave as an officer for the United Federation of Teachers.

    AFT president Randi Weingarten scores $15K annual teacher’s pension in deal with union and NYC

    May 16, 2023 // “The New York Post has refused to provide us with the supposed analysis this story is based on. Regardless, it’s pure speculation because Ms. Weingarten is not retired,” AFT spokesman Andrew Crook said. “Ms. Weingarten has worked on behalf of UFT members—including teaching in NYC public schools—for nearly 40 years.” Weingarten began serving as a legal counsel at UFT in 1986 before becoming a teacher. Other records obtained by the Freedom Foundation show she worked about two hours a day as a substitute from September 1991 to August 1994, amounting to about a year of service in her retirement account.

    Biden’s first veto backs pension investments in ESG

    March 22, 2023 // The House is set to vote Thursday on overriding the veto, which requires a two-thirds vote, or support from 290 members. That outcome is unlikely after the resolution of disapproval first passed the House 216-204 last month. The Labor Department regulation was finalized last year and sought to strike a compromise between financial services companies that wanted clear rules and plan sponsors that did not want to be required to consider environmental, social and governance factors. It reversed a Trump administration policy that made changes to how a 1974 law, known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, is implemented.