Document Type

White Paper


University of Maine Bureau of Labor Education

Publication Date


Publisher location

Orono, Maine

Abstract/ Summary

Roads, schools, bridges, government buildings, public hospitals – these are all examples of public works projects. Most states in the U.S., following the lead of the federal government, require that workers in such construction projects must be paid the “prevailing wage” for their occupation, industry and local geographic area. There is substantial research showing that prevailing wage (P.W.) laws can be an important element of economic development and economic stimulus plans, benefiting states, communities, businesses, workers and taxpayers in several ways. Prevailing wage laws: • can benefit communities, states and taxpayers by helping to ensure the most reliable, productive and experienced workforce, and by encouraging apprenticeship training; • are a form of economic development which benefits states, businesses, workers and communities through higher wages, benefits for workers, and use of local contractors; • result in a safer workplace and lower rates of occupational injuries, hence benefiting communities, employers, contractors, and workers; • can help to establish a more even “playing field” and promote fair competition, which benefitslocal contractors, workers and communities.


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