Proclamation 4031—Proclaiming the Suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act of March 3, 1931
By the President of the United States Of America
Section 1 of the Davis-Bacon Act of March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1494, as amended, 40 U.S.C. 276a), provides:
Et . . every contract in excess of $2,000, to which the United States or the District of Columbia is a party, for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating, of public buildings or public works of the United States or the District of Columbia within the geographical limits of the States of the Union, or the District of Columbia, and which requires or involves the employment of mechanics and/or laborers shall contain a provision stating the minimum wages to be paid various classes of laborers and mechanics which shall be based upon the wages that will be determined by the Secretary of Labor to be prevailing for the corresponding classes of laborers and mechanics employed on projects of a character similar to the contract work in the city, town, village, or other civil subdivision of the State in which the work is to be performed, or in the District of Columbia if the work is to be performed there . . .";
Various other acts provide for the payment of wages, with these provisions dependent upon determinations by the Secretary of Labor under the Davis-Bacon Act.
The Nation is now confronted by a set of conditions involving the construction industry which, taken together, create an emergency situation:
—Construction industry collective bargaining settlements are excessive and show no signs of decelerating.
—Increased unemployment and more frequent and longer work stoppages in the construction industry have accompanied the excessive and accelerating wage demands and settlements in the construction industry.
—The excessive and accelerating wage settlements in the construction industry have affected collective bargaining in other industries, thus contributing to inflation in the overall economy.
—This combination of factors in the construction industry has threatened the basic economic stability of the construction industry and thus the Nation's economy.
—Construction industry employers and employee representatives have been unable voluntarily to agree upon any arrangement which would ameliorate these conditions.
—The Federal Government is planning to expand its direct and financially-assisted construction, in part to reduce unemployment in the construction industry and in the national economy.
—The Federal Government anticipates that a larger portion of total resources will be devoted to construction activity as the economy expands.
—The Davis-Bacon Act and other acts dependent upon it frequently require contractors working on federally involved projects to pay the high negotiated wage settlements to mechanics and laborers, thereby sanctioning and spreading the high rates and thus inducing further acceleration contributing to the threat to the Nation's economy.
Section 6 of the Davis-Bacon Act provides:
"In the event of a national emergency the President is authorized to suspend the provisions of this Act."
Whereas I find that a national emergency exists within the meaning of section 6 of the Davis-Bacon Act of March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1494, as amended, 40 U.S.C. 276a).
Now, Therefore, I, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, do by this proclamation suspend, as to all contracts entered into on or subsequent to the date of this proclamation and until otherwise provided, the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act of March 3, 1931, as amended, and the provisions of all other acts providing for the payment of wages, which provisions are dependent upon determinations by the Secretary of Labor under the Davis-Bacon Act;
And I do hereby suspend until otherwise provided the provisions of any Executive Order, proclamation, rule, regulation or other directive providing for the payment of wages, which provisions are dependent upon determinations by the Secretary of Labor under the Davis-Bacon Act;
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of February in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-fifth.
NOTE: For a statement by the President on suspending provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, see the preceding item.
Richard Nixon, Proclamation 4031—Proclaiming the Suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act of March 3, 1931 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/307571