Prevailing Wage

Prevailing Wage Benefits MSPTA Members & All Local Workers

Prevailing Wage was established in the Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Act of 1931. Prevailing Wage is the wage rate set in a certain area for the cost of labor on projects funded by the local, state, or federal government.

The Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Act of 1931 requires that any project in any state using federal funding must pay the Prevailing Wage in that area.

Prevailing Wage rates are different in every area, but they are based on the union wages in that area. The theory behind having a Prevailing Wage is that the government should not undercut workers’ wages for labor, as that money will ultimately be spent and put back into the economy.


Since Prevailing Wage is required on federally funded projects, some states have chosen not to pass a Prevailing Wage law, or more recently, have repealed the state Prevailing Wage law.

The MSPTA advocates for Prevailing Wage laws to be passed in our mountain states jurisdiction. Arizona, Idaho, Utah, and South Dakota do not have Prevailing Wage laws.

Without a Prevailing Wage law, publicly funded project contracts are at risk of being awarded to out-of-state contractors who will take the wages earned back to their home states. This will have a negative effect on the local economy in which they earn the wages.

Prevailing Wage laws also tend to lead to safer working conditions, as tradesmen and tradeswomen are more likely to have received proper safety training.

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