The Foundation for Fair Contracting (FFC) is a non-profit labor-management organization that monitors public construction projects for compliance with federal, state and local prevailing wage requirements with a focus on District of Columbia and Baltimore City public schools. Through the Freedom of Information Act, we obtain bid documents, contracts and certified payroll records from government contracting agencies and review these documents for two reasons: to ensure that government contracting officers are complying with their statutory and regulatory enforcement obligations under the applicable prevailing wage laws, and to ensure that government contractors are complying with applicable prevailing wage requirements.
Our compliance efforts serve to curb the corrupt act of underbidding and disenfranchising, not only the workers on a project, but also the tax payers who are expecting a timely, safe and high-quality product.
Since its inception, the FFC has investigated over 115 public construction projects in the D.C. metropolitan region, including the Silver Line expansion, the BWI Airport’s terminal additions, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Ballou H.S. and New Catonsville E.S which uncovered potential prevailing wage violations. Based on its investigatory findings, the FFC has filed nearly 47 wage complaints with both government contracting and enforcement agencies including the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition to shining a spotlight on potential wage violations by government contractors, the FFC’s work is also exposing the widespread failure of contracting agencies to comply with their enforcement obligations under the relevant prevailing wage laws.
Unscrupulous and irresponsible companies have found loopholes and creative ways to circumvent prevailing wage through occupational licensing requirements, classifying workers as employees rather than independent contractors, ERISA and worker’s compensation fraud. These practices have and continue to erode transparency and equity in the construction industry. We are living in an era of the ‘race to the bottom.’ The FFC is one tool that can be helpful at tracking and thwarting efforts to abuse the system.
The FFC’s work is critical because there is no other public interest organization in Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia dedicated to monitoring public construction projects for prevailing wage law violations, and ensuring that tax payer dollars are not used to subsidize unscrupulous contractors that violate federal labor standards and drive down wages.