GPO SHOULD CONTINUE TO “JUST SAY NO”
TO SERVICE CONTRACT ACT PREVAILING WAGES
is a unique entity, being a creature of
Congress, and not part of the Executive Branch.
As such, GPO is exempt from most statutes and
regulatory schemes (such as the Federal
Acquisition Regulations). One of the Acts which
does not apply to GPO is the Service Contract
Act, which requires government contractors
having contracts totaling over $10,000 to pay
prevailing wages as calculated by the Department
of Labor. Because this Act does not apply to
GPO, government printers do not have to
artificially increase their wages in the area,
and pass the extra cost to GPO, who passes it
through to the agencies, who get their money
from the taxpayers.
has been substantial background noise about the
new administration’s strong support for unions.
Some conservative blogs and others have
predicted that the Administration would make
some effort to have government printing be
performed by only union shops. In reality,
there is no effective way to preclude non-union
shops from doing government work.
there is a way to cause non-union shops, and
even union shops to have to increase their wages
in order to do government contract work.
Although the Service Contract Act does not apply
to GPO, GPO can voluntarily agree to comply with
Doing so would certainly assist union shops in
being more competitive, as non-union shops would
have to pay prevailing wage.
direct result would be an increase in cost to
the government for printing jobs, and therefore
an increase in the expenditure of taxpayers’
funds on printing jobs.
There is no
rational reason for GPO to voluntarily apply the
Service Contract wage scale. It is not
necessary to provide fair wages in the printing
industry: with tens of thousands of printers in
the country, an employee not satisfied with his
wages or benefits has a lot of options. From
the employer’s viewpoint, having to create
different job-specific pay scales to pay
prevailing wages on government contracts and
normal wages on all the rest of the work is a
nightmare for a businesses. Aside from the
obvious wage increases, the additional
accounting and administrative cost alone would
be significant for small business. Obviously,
printers would pass increased cost along in
their government bids.
In this time of
economic belt tightening in the private sector
and in the federal government, there is simply
no justification for the GPO to mandate a
prevailing wage to be paid by printing companies
for government printing work, especially where
no such requirement has ever existed before.
Companies that produce government printing and
those that are concerned about the government
spending more money than it has to must oppose
any move to make the Service Contract Act
applicable to GPO printing contracts.