New Study Bolsters NABTU Case for Strong Prevailing Wage Laws in Construction

October 26, 2017

New Study Bolsters NABTU Case for Strong Prevailing Wage Laws in Construction

Analysis of Peer-Reviewed Research Shows No Significant Impact on Construction Costs

WASHINGTON, DC – North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) President Sean McGarvey today praised findings from the Institute for Construction Economic Research (ICERES) on its latest study concerning prevailing wage laws.

The study (Prevailing Wage Laws: What Do We Know? by Kevin Duncan and Russell Ormiston) encompasses a comprehensive review of peer-reviewed research and concludes that most credible studies indicate that prevailing wage regulations do not have a statistically significant impact on construction costs.

“In order for our brothers and sisters to prepare to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, our nation’s elected officials must protect community wage and benefit standards. That is, and has been, a topline priority of our unions’ leadership,” said McGarvey. “We’ve long advocated the value of prevailing wage laws – as they benefit each party: the workforce, the developers, and the general public. In regards to its findings, ICERES is more than fair. By highlighting peer-reviewed, academic findings – and identifying the inherent shortcomings in many non-academic studies – the Institute found value in prevailing wage laws. These laws ensure qualified, safe, highly skilled craft professionals on public projects and protect local communities from the deterioration of local labor standards.”

“In today’s US construction market, we far too often witness a ‘race to the bottom’ mentality, and that’s nothing short of unacceptable. Our members represent the safest, most highly skilled and productive workforce in the world, and should prevailing wage laws continue to be gutted across the country, contractors will be further hard-pressed to find qualified, skilled workers to accept jobs with unfair wages and little to no benefits. This study affirms NABTU’s longstanding argument that prevailing wage laws are vital in the construction industry – and, more importantly, when these laws are protected, America’s middle class is empowered,” McGarvey added.



North America’s Building Trades Unions is an alliance of 14 national and international unions in the building and construction industry that collectively represent over 3 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada. Each year, our unions and our signatory contractor partners invest over $1 billion in private sector money to fund and operate over 1,900 apprenticeship training and education facilities across North America that produce the safest, most highly trained, and productive skilled craft workers found anywhere in the world.

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