Mikulski, O'Malley Announce Updated Federal Prevailing Wages for Highway Construction Workers in Maryland


Prevailing wage raise is good for Maryland’s economy, good for Maryland’s families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley today announced a significant victory for fair pay and fair wages for highway construction workers in Maryland.

The U. S. Department of Labor (DoL) has agreed to use the findings of a survey commissioned by Maryland’s Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) to update the federal prevailing wages for highway construction workers in Maryland. The wages hadn’t been updated in more than 10 years.

“Like all great accomplishments, this is the result of a true team effort. I applaud the Department of Labor and Maryland’s DLLR for working together to take this much needed first step for Maryland workers,” Senator Mikulski said. “I have made updating prevailing wages throughout Maryland a top priority because it means good jobs at good wages. Pay for construction and highway work on federal contracts has been too low for too long. I will continue to fight for workers in my state until all federal contracts have competitive and fair pay.”

“I want to applaud our Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation and thank Senator Barbara Mikulski for her advocacy on the federal level for this important step in ensuring fair treatment and compensation of Maryland workers rebuilding our infrastructure,” Governor O’Malley said. “We’re proud to be the first state in the nation to have passed a statewide living wage statute, requiring contractors that do businesses with the state to pay a decent, livable wage. Today’s announcement takes these efforts a step further, and we’re proud that our partners on the federal level continue to stand with Maryland’s middle class, fighting for good jobs at good wages.”

Federal government contracts are required to pay what’s called a “prevailing wage” to workers on those contracts. This is to ensure that workers can earn a fair wage on government projects and that the government is a positive force in local labor markets.

Wage determinations for federal construction and highway projects, often referred to as Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wages, are supposed to be updated at least once every several years. Yet throughout Maryland, prevailing wages for many jobs haven’t been updated in more than a decade.

For example, prevailing wages for cement masons and carpenters on federal highway projects have been frozen since 2000 in Howard County and since 2002 in Baltimore. The result of these out of date wages is that many skilled workers are priced out of competing for government contracts.

In response to the problem, DLLR recently updated all of the prevailing wages that are used for state contracts. Senator Mikulski urged Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to use these findings to update the federal wages for all contracts in Maryland.

For more information, go to Senator Mikulski's website (PDF document, download Adobe Acrobat for free).