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Higher pay required for military, federal projects

By Tiffany Sukola HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, May 18, 2010) – As a result of new federal legislation, local contractors will soon be required to use a new wage determination scale for workers employed for military and federally funded construction projects or face harsh penalties.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Labor are on island to conduct a series of compliance workshops for local contractors before the new Davis-Bacon wage system is implemented.

Although the study is currently ongoing, federal labor officials estimate results from the pay study to be released later this year.

U.S. Department of Labor regional director of public affairs Deanne Amaden said the free conference is open to all local contracting communities. The two-day training session kicks off today at the Marriott Resort and Spa in Tumon.

Although the new wage scale will apply to federally funded projects, Amaden said the pay study will gather data from all local contracting firms regardless of their interest in federal government construction contracts.

Amaden said more than 1,000 licensed contracting firms on Guam have been sent to the Davis-Bacon pay study. To ensure the most accurate wage rates, participation in the survey is encouraged for all contractors on Guam, she said.

Contractors will need to supply wage data for the past year, she said.

The conference will give contractors an overview of the survey process and how to participate in the collection of data, said Amaden. Guam labor official will also be present to discuss the H-2B visa program.

Amaden said since the Davis-Bacon wage determination is new to Guam companies, contractors may have questions as to how the new wage determination will work.

Once the pay scale is implemented, Amaden said companies will be responsible for using the new prevailing pay rates to pay for labor. Companies could lose millions in potential contracts if the new Davis-Bacon wage rate is not used.

In addition, companies could have money withheld if they are found not to be in compliance with the new rate, she said.

While the Davis-Bacon wage determination has been in effect in the mainland U.S. since the early 1930s, it will now be applied to Guam in preparation for the impending military buildup, Amaden said.

According to federal labor officials, the Davis-Bacon wage rate will help maintain a fair level of competition among companies bidding for military and federally-funded construction projects.

Implementing the new wage rate on Guam will prevent contractors from winning bids because they took advantage of cheap labor, they said.

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