Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) recently introduced the Responsibility in Federal Contracting Act, which would require the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics to use its wage data to determine federal prevailing wages.

Prevailing Wage Laws require construction contractors who work on public projects to pay construction workers at least the prevailing wages and benefits in the area in which they are working. The Prevailing Wages are the actual hourly wages, benefits and overtime to be paid to workers, calculated by the U.S. and Ohio Departments of Labor for construction trades.

Under the Davis-Bacon Act, the prevailing wage for workers on federally funded public works construction projects is determined by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which bases its calculations on responses to periodic wage surveys of federal contractors.

Gosar criticized the current prevailing wage system, calling it outdated and inefficient, as well as promoting “big union contractors.”

Despite Gosar’s claims, prevailing wage protects not only construction workers, but all citizens by allowing for the sustainability of a construction workforce that delivers quality projects on-time and on-budget and supports local economies. Research has consistently shown that Prevailing Wage Laws do not result in significant cost variations on construction projects and, in fact, can produce cost savings as the result of better investment in the workforce and the resulting higher-quality and on-time construction.

The bill has been referred to the House Education and Workforce Committee.