Union Up Podcast - Episode 7

Davis-Bacon Jobs: Are You Being Paid Fairly?

Most union administration know about Davis-Bacon prevailing wage jobs, but many workers don't. The idea of being paid a fair wage for a fair day's work is something workers often take for granted. The good contractors do it right and comply with the law, but there are others who don't. Workers don't always know about the potential for wage theft from unscrupulous non-union contractors who classify jobs incorrectly and pocket the difference. They often don't know they may be being taken advantage of, and even if they do, they don't know what to do about it. Some fear retribution or losing their job, or not being rehired when that job is finished. The Union Up podcasts welcomes Chris Carr, Compliance Manager for the Georgia Foundation for Fair Contracting, and Jarrett Wade, Organizer for the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, and HVACR Technicians Local Union 72 to talk about Davis-Bacon, educating workers on their rights to fair pay, and how to hold unscrupulous contractors accountable. www.gafaircontracting.org

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(Transcript) Jarrett Excerpt: If you've never heard of it, or if you've never worked on a Davis-Bacon job, you just may not know about it. And that's okay. But we are trying to do our job to get out there and spread the word about what this act is, what it does, what it protects and why it's there.

Opening: You're listening to the Union Up podcast, a podcast with conversations on issues facing business managers and local trade unions across the country.

Rut: The idea of being paid a fair wage for a fair day's pay as a pathway to the middle class is a uniquely American ideal, but that would suggest that being paid fairly is a given in 1931, the Davis bacon act was passed to assure that the taxpayer's money was spent in the areas in which they live and that a living wage would be paid to the workers in that area that do the projects that are funded by the federal government, that prevailing wage law was meant to assure fair wages on federal projects. But as we'll find out today, the idea of fair wages and fair contracting and being in compliance with that Davis bacon act is not always the case. And joining me today are two gentlemen who are boots on the ground, I guess you'd say in the fight for fair wages in the State of Georgia Jarrett Wade, who is an organizer for the United association of plumbers, pipe fitters and HVACR technicians, local union 72 here in Atlanta, which is one of the largest trade unions in the Southeast. And Chris Carr, who is by trade, Chris, you are an operating an engineer, but an operating engineer, but Chris is the compliance manager for the Georgia foundation for fair contracting, gentlemen. Welcome. Thank you. Hey, how are you doing so what is the Georgia foundation for fair contracting? And how did you get involved Chris?

Chris: Well, I got some training for my international and I was enlightened on, on the tools that are there and the laws that are in place that just aren't being used in Georgia or the Southeast altogether. So we are looking to pick up those tools and put them to use and follow up and make sure that these prevailing wage, these laws are enacted in our area. They the department of labor is pretty well under funded. And, you know, I don't think believe they're as motivated as I would be or tradesman would be to look into these job sites and talk to the guys and, and see what they're getting paid and see if we see any discrepancies. And then from there work, work for them, with them to make sure they are getting paid correctly. Now there are contractors that mistakenly will make mistakes, but there's contractors out there that will definitely, they know what they're doing. They're not paying the guys what they should be paying them. And it's blatant wage theft. So we're out for those guys. We'd like to reel that in. And those contractors are undermining any of the good contractors out there. If they're going into bidding the job with the plan of a, you know, well, for lack of better words, cheating it undermines the whole system. So we need to expose them to make it a fair playing field for, for all contractors out there and to make sure these guys are getting paid, at least the minimum of the prevailing wage.

Rut: Give me an example, what kind of jobs are you talking about where someone may be getting underpaid based on the Davis Bacon law?

Chris: All right. Well, it could be any, any, and all crafts out there. I'll just, I'll just use a bulldozer as an example. You know, there's a job, not too far from here where I talked with the operator and he was getting paid that's $21 an hour and bulldozer wage was 26. So there's obviously a, an indicator there that he's not getting paid, what he should. And I'll, I'll talk with them and, and see if he's interested in it's, you know, they're not for the most part because they don't want to get fired. They don't want to be, you know, pointed out. They don't want to say anything because they know that they may not be there very long and their paycheck means a lot to them and their family.

Rut: Are they aware that they're of the wage scale that they should be getting paid or are they just getting paid? What the contractor tells them they're getting paid and then, you know, so be it...

Chris: Right. Well, they're supposed to be notified and have a board with the wages up on a board somewhere on the job, perfectly by the trailer or where we're employees might check in at, in and, or out then in the day, some of these job sites are large, where it might be long where it's more difficult to do, but on this job, there was no posting. There is no posting and that that's another violation by the department of labor. But yeah, they don't know. They don't even know that they're working on, on some jobs, some jobs, they know some contractors do a good job of letting them know, put the postings up. Like they're supposed to, they all know going into bidding on the job. What's expected. It's all laid out there for them. Some of them choose to do it. Some of them don't choose to do it. So yeah, quite often the employees have no idea, these particularly ones that had no idea. And so,

Rut: Jarrett, what is the incentive for is the incentive for the contractor to keep the, the employee and the darker, or what, what would motivate them to pay them $21? When they, when by law they should be paying them $26 an hour. Is that example?

Jarrett: Yeah. The biggest thing is that there's no enforcement, so they know they can get away with it. Unfortunately like Chris was saying earlier, the department of labor is underfunded. And for whatever reason, they just haven't done their job. And as enforcement goes on the Davis Bacon act, so that's where organizations such as ours with the Georgia foundation for fair contracting come into play, and we're going to go out and do that. Because that's, that's our mission. We care about workers and we want them to get paid, what they're supposed to get paid. I walked the law says, and we also want to penalize the contractors that are not doing right. They need to know that, Hey, there is somebody out there that's paying attention to this. We're being looked at now, we're being watched now we need to start doing the right thing. And what that does is that balances things out that moves one scale down the other scale up, and it makes contractors competitive across the field, no matter what kind of contractor it is, large, small union, non-union, they're all on the same level playing field, which is why the law was created in the first place.

Rut: So there's no enforcement on the back end, either. In other words, if someone bids a federal job it's under the Davis-Bacon statute, is there not some sort of, you know, documentation? They have to have to say, okay, we did this. And we paid these people this, etc.

Jarrett: There is they a contractor that's doing a job that's underneath the Davis-Bacon Act. They have to submit certified payroll weekly with the amount of workers that they have work in what each of their classifications are. And what they're paying them. Unfortunately, nine times out of 10, that's submitted to the DOL and that's it, that's the end of it. You may get every once in a while where the DOL steps in and says, you know, we are going to do a compliance check. But more times than not, that doesn't happen. And that's where we come in. We're going to do that compliance check. We're going to look at those wage sheets by submitting FOYA requests, which is a freedom of information act request for public records. We're going to submit that, pull those records. We're going to look at it and we're going to compare what they're being paid from their certified payroll to what the wage determination is for that area. So an example you know, wage determination for plumbers and pipefitters here is the prevailing wage which is the union wage here in Atlanta 31.68 an hour on the check. If they're being paid any less than that, then they're not getting what they should be paid. And that's where we'll take that information and we'll file a complaint on their behalf and try to get them the money that they're owed.

Rut: So your members, are they aware of this more so than a non-union contractor? I mean, what, are they?

Jarrett: Yeah. yes and no, I think they're definitely more aware than, than the non-union sector workers. But there's even, you know, unfortunately there's, still membership that probably doesn't know about it and that's okay. You know, if you've never heard of it or if you've never worked on a Davis-Bacon job, you just may not know about it and that's okay. But we are trying to do our job to get out there and spread the word about what this act is, what it does, what it protects and why it's there.

Rut: Yeah. So, Chris, what are you doing in terms of you are talking about getting some partners in academia involved in this project? What, what, tell me about that and what does that afford you? The opportunity to be able to do?

Chris: Yeah, they just bring in a different dimension, like you said earlier. Jared and I are more boots on the ground types guys. We come from the field and then there's a lot that higher learning brings to the table. You know, they, from the political side of things to analyzing keeping track of things writing papers from the political take things they could, they're good at talking with politicians and seeing what we could do to firm it up more, or get more of it, you know, here in Georgia, we only have the federal prevailing wage. A lot of States out there have a state prevailing wage. And there's also some cities that have prevailing wages. So we're only dealing with the federal prevailing wage here in Georgia. And it's a tough state to work in as far as wages. I mean, hello, the the minimum wage is 5.15 an hour here in Georgia, $2 below the federal ...

Rut: Minimum wage is $5 and 15 cents an hour.

Jarrett: Yes it is.

Chris: And you know, it startling, it's like why in the world is, I mean, heck seven with the federal government is extremely low. I mean, who, who could live on that possibly, you know, the last time has been touched, I am 15 years ago or something like that, you know?

Jarrett: Yeah. I mean, obviously the federal supersedes the state minimum wage, but still just the fact that it's still written in Georgia law, that it's five, 15 an hour just shows you, it just goes to show you that I don't think many people care about what people are making.

Rut: So do what the politicians say. Well, look, you know, the federal minimum wage is seven. We comply with that. So look, we're in compliance, you know, go pound sand or what pretty much, I think more or less, that's what they're thinking. And so, so these, these papers, this, these academics that are working with you, what are, what are they, what are you hoping that they'll do is to bring light to it, to write content about it? What are the things that you would consider a success?

Chris: Well, they, I mean, they could help change things drastically here in Georgia. I mean, what if they were to help us get a state prevailing wage, or even a city prevailing wage in Atlanta, you know, it'd be a big step in the right direction. You know, there's a big problem here with housing being affordable, Atlanta Atlanteans, you know, and, and construction makes up one third of the economic output here. You know, it's not like you don't have to make affordable housing. How about let's meet in the middle, let's have some livable wages to where you can afford a house in Atlanta. And so if they were to have a prevailing wage in Atlanta, that's something they could work on. So all the projects that are used with Atlanta's money would have a prevailing wage on it, where, you know, there's some standards and you could also work in the younger people coming in apprentices and such from the area where you could build the city, make a very healthy city with, you know, good, decent wages where you could live here simply. Yeah.

Rut: So where does that start? Jarrett? I mean, does that start at the employee level? Does that start at a letting employees know that they're getting screwed or, or like, how do you start that conversation to put pressure up the, up the food chain, so to speak, to be able to, to change that law, to change that? I guess you'd say practice.

Jarrett: I think so. I mean, kind of working from a bottom up theory, you know, being boots on the ground and having a, a background in organizing and just knowing what I deal with on a daily basis workers is what we do, workers is what we represent, you know, that's what we're all about. So, yeah, I definitely think that starting from the bottom, going out and visiting these job sites is huge. We do a lot of research and pull up a lot of different jobs that are Davis-Bacon. You can research them, there's different websites you can get on. And then getting the information and going out there physically going out there and making conversation with the workers, talking to them, asking them Hey you know, did you know this is a Davis-Bacon job? Just starting with that simply

Rut: Question. How many people out of 10, know it's a Davis-Bacon job.

Chris: Maybe four out of 10.

Jarrett: I was going to say too, yeah, 20 to 30, 40% maybe if it's a bigger project say like CDC, for example, being built, new CDC, building something like that, people for whatever reason tend to know, they know that CDC is a, I guess, a government entity and it just kinda maybe word of mouth. They understand a little bit more, but maybe on a project that's not so big, something like that.

Chris: Or maybe add to the city, you know, more rural areas

Jarrett: Rural area like maybe a senior assisted living home or something like that. A lot of times has Davis bacon money in it, but people don't understand. They don't know. So yeah, the education portion of this is huge. Getting the worker to understand this is what you're supposed to be paid. This is what this act is about. And just getting that info out there. And at the end of the day, I mean, you know, we can only do what they want to do if they want to pursue anything. If they are not being paid correctly, that's on them. But we're, we're going to do our part and get that info out.

Rut: Why would they not, If, if they found out that to use your example, Chris, they were getting paid $21 when they were supposed to be getting paid $26 an hour. Why would they not say anything?

Chris: Yeah, that's a mystery to Jarrett and I that's for sure, but you know, they're concerned about losing their job. You know, they may have been working with this person for a long time, be a personal friend of theirs. And they, they can't, they don't want to risk it. They're not interested. And you know, that it goes a long way, especially down here in the South for some reason,

Rut: Are they, are there safeguards in place for someone who voices, their opinion that they would not get? Or that just make up some reason to fire him or what happened?

Chris: Yeah. Yeah, there is. And the way we're set up, we're getting set up to where they can contact us anonymously or we'll keep their information private as we would at any time. Cause we understand the situation that they're coming from. Some guys very rarely though are, will, are willing, you know, they might be disgruntled. And those aren't always the funniest guys to deal with either but...

Rut: Because you don't, want to punish the contractor as much as you want to reward the worker for the wages they are, they are rightly entitled to. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. Well, you certainly don't want the contractor to think this is a light situation. We want them to, you know, not do it again.

Rut: But that's not the, not that modus operandi, that's not the goal. The goal is, is to stand up for the workers that the worker knows what they're entitled to and what they, what they, what they should rightfully be, be paid. Right?

Chris: Yeah. I mean, the workers are coming first and foremost with us, but we also want to, you know, there are good contractors out there and we do want to, you know, we want them to get the jobs, not the people that are undermining everybody else, you know?

Rut: Right. Are you, you chuckled? What were you chuckling? What were you thinking?

Jarrett: I was just thinking like, you know, in the process of enlightening the worker, if, you know, so be it, if the contractor goes down in some situations, you know, I mean, yeah, we don't like, like Chris said, we just, we don't want them to think that it's a, a light situation. It is, it's something serious. You're violating federal law, right. It's wage theft. So in the process of helping the worker and getting that, getting them that information, if the, the con, you know, nine times out of 10 contractors find out they, they, they hear that we're onsite or they know who we are, they do their research and figure us out. And a lot of times there might be some, some words out on the job site and they they're disgruntled with us. So be it. Yeah, they are. That's, our job is to get out there and put this information out, shame on that contractor for not obeying the law. And if they go down you know, that's on them.

Break: You're listening to the Union Up podcast, a podcast with conversations on issues, facing business managers and local trade unions across the country, hosted by Rutland Walker, founder of Union Up. Union Up develops marketing programs that help local trade unions to recruit new members, grow market share, and increase contractor roles for more information visit unionup.net.

Rut: So how do you get out there during COVID-19? I mean, are you, are you limited access on job sites and that kind of thing? How are you getting that word out during these COVID months?

Jarrett: It's been a little different, depends on the job. Really. Some jobs are more strict than others, which is whether it's in a, you know, a pandemic like this or not. Some jobs are just harder to get on than others. There's maybe security, guards, Gates, things like that. Other federal jobs, I would think, right. Typically there's somebody at the gate. But a lot of times the, the, the gatekeepers we call them we just tell them what we're there for. We're telling we're there to speak with some workers, got some questions, ask them a lot of times, they'll let us on site. And, you know, as long as we check in and don't cause any disruptions other sites you can just walk right on. So I honestly, I really don't know if COVID had that great of an impact.

Chris: I don't, I don't think all these guys been working right through it anyways, they've had to wear a mask or make some adjustments, but I mean, construction hasn't really stopped or anything like that. We're essential. And, you know, being Jarrett and I come from the field, like I put on, I know how to get on the job site. I've been doing it for a long time. So I got no problem for the most part. Some are, other some more security, but. Maybe we might have one of our, someone we know that's working on there and they can help the with us and getting the message out that, Hey, there's people out there that will help you. You don't need to go to your front office, you know, if you feel uncomfortable, things of that nature.

Rut: Have you had any conversations from the HR standpoint, like an, you know, a, a bigger contractor with an HR department, that kind of thing, or are they...

Chris: I could say I had come across the job site where they had an HR person in place that was going out and making sure everybody was getting paid. And that was pretty cool. You know, I didn't have much to do on that one there, but I mean, that's the, I know they were a good contractor taking care of business, you know, and it's like, well, hats off to you. We'll move on. You got nothing to worry about if you're taking of your business and, and you know, we move onto the next guy.

Rut: What percentage of people are playing by the rules on those jobs? Would you say, do you have any idea

Chris: I'm guessing right now, but I'd say about 30%. I'd say we got, you know, 70 not.

Rut: Yeah. So I'm looking online prepping for this interview and looking at national Alliance for Fair Contracting, as an example. And then there are lots of other States that have, you know, websites and information and literature out there about it in their particular state and there is very little in the Southeast. Why is that?

Chris: I think it's a, it's a cultural thing. For some reason. It's just not down here. And you know, we are looking to bring it down in this area. Other parts of the country are very successful using the tools that have been fought for in the past and applying them. We have a lot of work to do here in the Southeast and Georgia specifically, you know, cause the prevailing wage is only set by surveys that contractors need to participate in. So if the participation is not there, then the wages laid dormant and create a stagnant pattern. So it can work for you. It can work against you. And if, if we don't encourage our contractors and do contractors period to participate, these prevailing wages will remain solo. I saw prevailing wages on a wage determination from 2012 the other day, you know, I mean, and the guys on that job, weren't even getting paid that amount. So it just gets really stagnant. It's not good. So we got a lot of work. It's not just, you know, policing this job. We got to make sure the surveys are up. Our own crafts are turning in their wages, steady, getting it done. Cause I know it's difficult to have good connections with the department of labor while they will take care of the business that they're supposed to respond to an email that you send them, things like that. Fortunately, we have some help from our internationals that will that been doing it a long time and know the key people to get to which it shouldn't be like that. You know what I mean? It, should I send an email to the department of labor. I should get a you know, acknowledgement that they received my email at a minimum. I think, you know, Hey, we're working on it. That's all I'd really like to hear right out the gate, you know? But yeah, you know, we got a under 5% union density here in Georgia just like South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and then you got Florida just barely breaking out over the 5% in Alabama and Tennessee's under 5%, you know, it, it's disturbingly low a union density here in the Southeast. And, and when you look at a map where the foundations for contracting, as they're set up, they have more union density and you know, this is something that's not going to happen overnight. But if we don't get started it, you know, we're just going to stay in that same puddle, I think in that same stagnant position in this job. Now, if we were to focus on these federal jobs and get them straightened out and union contractors don't have anything to worry about because they're setting the prevailing wage nine times out of 10. So, you know, those employees are getting their friends, they're getting their insurance, they're getting their pension and they'll let you know if they're not getting it. You know what I mean? So, you know, they're good.

Rut: With lot of talk, both parties really talking about infrastructure is a big, is a big yes, hot button moving forward here. I get real hot. Yeah. What does that mean to the Southeast in terms of prevailing wage? That seems to me like there would be a lot of Davis-Bacon work in that, in that situation.

Chris: Yeah. We, I mean, we could see a lot of activity coming up possibly with this. Cause it happened back in 08 with a stimulus money for the economy back then that was federal money put in. So there was a lot activity in that.

Rut: So that's a, that's a big time opportunity for you guys.

Chris: Yeah. We should be ready. We should be in place and, and, and know what we're doing and how to do it and, and have, you know, everyone that we can contact with knowledge of it. And it could be coming our way and, you know, we could get set up for it. Be ready.

Rut: Is that something that you guys talk about a lot that this sort of coming not storm, but you know, coming activity of infrastructure.

Chris: For me, no, because it's right now, you know, there's so much to do right now. I don't need to wait for even, I mean, it's a thought it could be coming down the pipe, but I mean, I got plenty right now, you know, so it's like, man, we got tons to do right now. I don't know. Maybe I hope I'm ready for when that comes. You know what I mean? Well, we got some more people willing to help and you know, things like that.

Rut: So what happened ends with an employee that you know, where can they go? How can they voice their you know, opinion around not getting paid, what they feel like they should be getting paid without the fear of getting terminated or, you know, not rehired once they, once that job complaints while we're just not gonna rehire you for the next job we do or whatever, what, what couldn't, what can they do?

Jarrett: Well, you know, I think Chris mentioned earlier that, you know, everything's confidential. You know, say we go out to a job, talk with a worker, you know, a lot of times we, we visit job sites multiple times. It's not just a onetime thing. You know, we may go out there and depending on what kind of feedback we get tells Chris and I, what we need to do next. Okay. And that could mean we get really positive feedback from the workers. They're really interested in us helping them. And it's what we're going to go back out. You know, we're going to go back out there next week. Cause maybe the first time you're out there, it's a lot of times it's usually really quick cause you, you're not sure of the job. You don't know if you're going to get runoff or not. So it's quick, you hand them a card. You tell them who you are and if they seem receptive, you talk with them for a minute or two because they're working too, you know, so you don't want to take them away from their work and get them in trouble. But if their interested say, yeah, I would like to talk more. Okay, well, we're going to go back out there, you know, in a couple of days or next week and see if we can talk with them again. And if that's the case, we do, you gotta be friends. These people, you gotta become the friend, you got to get them to trust you or you get nowhere that trust has to be set and it's gotta be set high. And it takes time to do that. And eventually the goal is to try and get them to where you can sit down with them and meet with them outside of work when they're not working, take them out to lunch, take them out to dinner or whatever. That's where you can get in to the details of what's really going on with them. And then you can go from there and nine times out of 10, a contractor's not going to know, you know, you know, they may see you talking with him that first initial job site visit or this, the time that you go back. But you know, there's so many people on a job site typically they're not, they're not, they don't know. They don't think anything about it. Right. You know, they don't know who, who, who, they don't know who his employee is talking to, you know?

Chris: And we got you know, we're just launching right now. So we got a website coming and we'll have cards to where they could get it to the workers with the website on there. We'll also have hardhat stickers with, with the website on there. And so we want everyone to know about the Georgia foundation for fair contracting. We just, we want everyone with stickers on a website. They could go to, you know,. In the website. There's an area where you can put in your information. And, you know, we, we note on there that this will be confidential and it's not, we're going to go run back to your boss with your information or something like that. And same thing for contractors to, if a contractors, you know, maybe it might be his first federal job he's bid on. And he's like, kind of worried about the Georgia foundation pair, contracting, checking them out or something, or he doesn't want to, you know, he just wants to make sure he's doing things right. Well, he's welcome to reach out to us too and you know, well, Hey, this is what we look for. This is what you need to do to stay compliant. And you're good to go, man, enjoy. You know, but for the other, other ones, we want them to know that we're out there and they're being watched too, so that they tighten up and act, right.

Rut: What's the URL?

Chris: Gafaircontracting.org

Rut: Okay. And I'll put that in the liner notes.

Chris: It's not, it's under construction at this moment. But by the time this goes out, it should be up. So yeah, looking forward to getting the word out there and letting people know.

Rut: Who else is involved in this project, you two guys on the, on the ground...

Chris: Again, we're launching and we'll be going to all over Georgia and getting with other organizers. And, you know, we have higher education involved, but I, I don't want to name names and such right now cause it's premature. You know, I'd love to talk to you again a couple months or so and go, Hey, we got this and we got that. And but it's, we're, we're just getting, going with this baby and getting pumped up to where we need somebody in this area or people, a team of people is really what we need that are just doing this kind of work at all times and making sure we got this covered.

Rut: Seems like you would need to have people on the job site that are self-advocating, you know, if they are, they understand what their rights are. Right. you know, spreading that gospel, so to speak among the, among the job site. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Hopefully we have some union members on the job and you know, some might be union, some won't and you're rubbing elbows with them. We got someone that we can talk to on the union side, Hey, why don't you talk to them guys, hand some of our cards out, if you know, we can't be out there all the time and, and we're not supposed to be out there to begin with. Of course the contract would be like, well, where's your safety sticker on your helmet and this kind of thing, you know, but they can be out there and, you know, we got to use whatever resources we can and we may not have any union contractors out. There are union members and, you know, we've got to make a friend like, like Jarrett was talking earlier, you know, get to know him, you know? And we, Jarrett and I should be multiplying here, meaning we're gonna talk with other organizers throughout the state. And even just our members at our union meetings and wherever we can to get them at least understanding it, where to go, you know, the website, the card...

Rut: Are the business managers for the locals in the Southeast. Are they all aware of this? Are they, do they have things going on in their own States and that kind of thing, or you guys lone wolves?

Chris: I think we're lone wolves right now. Definitely not in the Southeast. We're just Georgia. We'd love to, you know, but we got a lot of work right in front of us. And you know, I think a lot of managers there, we got support, but a lot of people aren't going to jump on board until you got some, some good, hard stuff in front of you got some wage stuff that you produced and that's totally understandable. And you know, we got a little kickstart here, gone, we got a little bit of funding to help with a website and things like that to where, you know, Hey, you know, we got to produce, so we don't produce it. That's the end of it.

Rut: Are you having any conversations with local politicians or does that matter?

Jarrett: It matters a lot. It matters a lot. And not at this point, we're not

Chris: Right. You know, but I would say, you know, myself or Jarrett, aren't directly having conversations with the politicians, but all of our, you know, we're, we're part of the building trades also. So we are keyed in with politics. We are knowing who, and who's not, would be in favor of something like this. So, you know, we see good things to come with this because this goes either way on either side of the table, Democrat or Republican.

Rut: Well, the Davis-Bacon Act was passed by a Republican Congress. Was it not a, as far as I know it was. Yeah. So it's not a political thing, even though people want to make it a political thing. It's a fair wages living wage, middle class thing. Yeah,

Chris: Yeah, yeah. I think it's universal. Meaning, you know, taxpayers want, want to see the money, get to the little guy. Right. You know, I mean, and whether you're Republican or Democrat, I think we both feel the same way on that.

Rut: I think a pathway to the middle class is still an ideal that almost everybody in this country is divided as we are almost everybody in this country can get behind. Yes. And that's, that's the thing is, is taking it out of that politic ping pong game and talking about it from the perspective of the rank and file worker, who's trying to feed his or her family and in a world where we're slowly seeing the middle-class shrink, unfortunately an organization such as this, you know, going out and, and trying to enforce these fair contracts is a way to grow the middle class back to what it used to. We used to be back to what it should be. Right. You know, if the middle class fails, we're doomed. Absolutely. And that's, that is the marching orders that you guys.

Chris: Yeah. And man, if you're going to work and work in construction, like what we're talking about, you're working, you know what I mean? You you're deserving a decent wage, you know, you're giving it up,

Rut: Not to mention, a decent set of benefits and you know,

Chris: Yeah. I mean, that's good for the country too. I mean, what are you going to do with no retirement or anything? You're just going to be leeching off the system. Probably if you're, if you're in that bad of shape, which it looks like a whole lot of people will be. Yeah.

Rut: Yeah. And when you're 30, you don't always think about your shoulders where not at 55, but they do man.

Chris: We run into them guys all the time and I got 20 grand in my 401k. I'm good. It's like ah man...

Rut: Got a long road. Yeah, you too. We'll get old. My friend. Yeah. Well, listen, gentlemen, thank you so much. I want to say one more time that the website is gafaircontracting.org. If you want any information on these guys, I will have it in the notes. And thank you for joining us.

All: Hey, we appreciate it. Thank you for having us. Thank you.

Closing: You've been listening to Union Up a podcast with conversations on issues facing business managers and local trade unions across the country. For more information on this podcast, or to help your local grow, visit unionup.net.


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