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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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
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
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
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
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,
Rut: What's the URL?
Rut: Okay. And I'll put that in the
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
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
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
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.