The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 is a law with racist origins and broad congressional support. During the 1931 legislative debate over the Davis-Bacon Act, which mandates super-minimum (mostly union) wages on federally financed or assisted construction projects, racist intents were obvious. Rep. John Cochran, D-Mo., supported the bill, saying he had "received numerous complaints … about Southern contractors employing low-paid colored mechanics getting work and bringing the employees from the South." Rep. Clayton Allgood, D-Ala., complained: "Reference has been made to a contractor from Alabama who went to New York with bootleg labor. … That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country." Rep. William Upshaw, D-Ga., spoke of the "superabundance or large aggregation of Negro labor." American Federation of Labor President William Green said, "Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates." The Davis-Bacon Act remains law. Modern rhetoric in support of it has changed, but its effects haven't. It continues to discriminate against nonunion construction labor. Most black construction workers are in the nonunion sector.Walter Williams, Economic Fairness
Monday, December 26, 2011
Walter Williams on the Racist Origins of the Davis-Bacon Act
In the context of the 2012 presidential campaign, Ron Paul should explain the racist origins of American minimum wage legislation and add a repeal of minimum wage laws to his platform since in an earlier debate he said he advocates the repeal of minimum wage laws.
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