Business-labor partnership tackles wage theft on public projects

By Barb Kucera, Workday Minnesota
February 22, 2016

ST. PAUL – A joint effort between contractors and building trades unions has led to stronger enforcement of state laws on public construction – making a big dent in cheating and recovering nearly $1 million in stolen wages and benefits.

The partnership could be a model for addressing wage theft in other industries.

The federal government adopted wage standards for taxpayer-funded construction projects in 1931, when President Herbert Hoover signed the Republican-authored Davis-Bacon Act. In the decades since, many states, including Minnesota, and many local communities have followed suit.

Known as “prevailing wage” laws, these regulations require contractors bidding on publicly funded projects to pay wages and benefits in line with those of a particular location. In Minnesota, the state conducts surveys to determine the prevailing wages for different communities.

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