Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Signing Bill Broadening the Prevailing Wage Section of the Davis-Bacon Act

July 02, 1964

I want to express my satisfaction that the leaders of the workers of this country could be here with the Members of Congress who have been so devoted to their welfare throughout the years.

I am very happy this morning to sign this legislation, H.R. 6041. I am especially glad that this measure has support from such a broad consensus among all the groups that are affected by it.

We have come a long ways since the original Davis-Bacon Act became law. That act provided wage protection for workers that were employed locally on construction which was financed with Federal funds. Congress and the people recognized that principle as just and sound. I think the record through the years confirms the wisdom and the value of that act.

This bill basically brings the law up to date. Thirty years ago fringe benefits were unknown. Today such provisions are standard practice in most employer-employee relationships.

The new law sensibly provides that wage determinations shall, in addition to cash wages, take account of prevailing benefits such as medical and hospital care, pensions and workmen's compensation, unemployment insurance, vacations, holidays, and other such factors.

Our American prosperity today, we are glad to say, is unparalleled. Our prospects for the future seem to us to have never been brighter. So it is very reassuring to me to know that the great majority of Americans want to keep moving forward, not backward. Few want to reopen the old and the settled debates. Few want to stir up the old divisions and suspicions of class. We don't want to set labor and management at bitter odds with one another. We don't want to have Government take over everything or ignore everything.

I believe that all of us want to clear off our agenda, put the past behind us, and get on with building a better America.

I know that this is a glad day for a great leader of American labor, Mr. George Meany, and Mr. Haggerry, of the Building Trades group, that this legislation affects so vitally. I am happy that Senator McNamara, Senator Morse, Senator Kuchel, members of both parties, Congressman Roosevelt and members of both parties of the House, are here to show that this is an American measure and not just a party measure.

I am gratified to think that we are making progress toward these goals every day by working together in unity and putting the past behind us, hoping to leave this a better world than we found it.

Note: The President spoke shortly before noon in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In Iris closing remarks he referred to George Meany, President, AFL-CIO, Cornelius J. Haggerty, President, Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, Senator Pat McNamara of Michigan, Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, Senator Thomas H. Kuchel of California, and Representative James Roosevelt of California.

As enacted, H.R. 6041 is Public Law 88-349 (78 Stat. 238).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing Bill Broadening the Prevailing Wage Section of the Davis-Bacon Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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