White House Skirts the Law in Expanding Davis-Bacon

This article originally appeared in Regulation. Click here to read the full article.

By Ike Brannon and Sam Batkins

The Obama administration did a small favor for unions last spring by declaring that land surveyors are henceforth covered by the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires that workers be paid the “prevailing” union wage when employed by a company doing construction or some other sort of manual work for the federal government.

It is perfectly understandable why the administration would do such a thing. Despite fervent union support in both of President Obama’s campaigns, he has delivered few tangible favors to them. Card-check didn’t happen even with a heavily Democratic House and Senate; the national Labor relations Board’s threat to keep closed Boeing’s new non-unionized plant in South Carolina turned out to be an idle one, and the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is giving more than a few unions heartburn about its implications.