The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws. These mandates and the regulations that implement them cover many workplace activities for about 150 million workers and 10 million workplaces. Several agencies administer programs related solely to the construction industry.
- The Fair Labor Standards Act prescribes standards for wages and overtime pay, which affect most private and public employment. The act is administered by the Wage and Hour Division. Additionally, recipients of government contracts, grants or financial aid are subject to wage, hour, benefits, and safety and health standards under:
- The Davis-Bacon Act, which requires payment of prevailing wages and benefits to employees of contractors engaged in federal government construction projects;
- The McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act, which sets wage rates and other labor standards for employees of contractors furnishing services to the federal government; and
- The Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act, which requires payment of minimum wages and other labor standards by contractors providing materials and supplies to the federal government.
- The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Employers covered by the OSH Act must comply with OSHA's regulations and safety and health standards. For the construction industry, OSHA has occupational safety and health standards for construction.
- The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulates employers who offer pension or welfare benefit plans for their employees. Title I of ERISA is administered by the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).
- The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (also known as the Landrum-Griffin Act) deals with the relationship between a union and its members. The act is administered by the Office of Labor-Management Standards.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), administered by the Wage and Hour Division, requires employers of 50 or more employees to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious illness of the employee or a spouse, child or parent
Martin J. Walsh was sworn in as the 29th Secretary of Labor on March 23, 2021. A lifelong champion of equity and fairness, and a proud product of the City of Boston, Secretary Walsh leads the U.S. Department of Labor with a strong connection to working people, and a commitment to creating an economy that works for all. Secretary Walsh is driven to ensure our nation's economy works for everyone.
CEA Highlights Industry Priorities for Secretary Walsh
CEA identifies policies and enforcement activities that Build the Nation Back Better by strengthening the unionized construction market and growing middle-class job opportunities our member firms provide.
- Strengthen the Multiemployer Pension System -- Failure to act on this issue threatens the entire multiemployer pension system. Our members are willing to be part of the solution in addressing this crisis, but there are limits to how much of the burden can be placed on the contractors who pay into the system. We support legislation and policies that will not only help multiemployer pension plans and their participants who are facing insolvency, but also strengthen the long-term viability of healthy pension plans. To address the latter, we strongly support the authorization of composite plans.
- Protect and Strengthen Prevailing Wage Laws -- Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements and enforcement are vital to maintaining the unionized construction industry and the middle-class wage jobs it provides.
- Combat Employee Misclassification --To protect construction workers from abuse and safeguard lawful, responsible contractors from unfair competition due to willful misclassification, we urge: (1) additional resources to DOL’s Wage and Hour Division necessary to strengthen enforcement (2) tighten the framework for determining whether a worker is an employee or a legitimate independent contractor.
- Prepare the Next Generation of Skilled Workers -- Our employers and their labor partners operate over 1,100 apprenticeship training centers nationally and invest over $1.3 billion annually in workforce training and apprenticeship programs. Both employers and building trades’ unions to oppose the DOL’s 2019 proposed rule authorizing the use of Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). Any effort to expand and strengthen apprenticeship and training opportunities in construction must build on the existing private registered apprenticeship model.
- Support Project Labor Agreements -- PLAs have proven a cost-effective tool for federal agencies to ensure high quality construction projects are completed on-time and on budget. PLAs minimize the risk of labor disputes and promote on-schedule and on-budget completion of projects, reducing overall costs and minimizing risks to taxpayers.
- Support Bid Listing -- Procurement policy should require prime contractors on low-bid solicitations over $1 million to list all subcontractors with work over $100,000 and require the prime contractor to use the listed subcontractor at the proposed price as identified at contract award.