Big Labor Scores a Win

Immigration rights advocates in New Jersey / AP

Organized labor succeeded in attaining special provisions in the illegal immigration compromise that will boost union contract prospects.

The AFL-CIO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed a package of immigration reforms on Friday after months of negotiations. Under the deal, 200,000 work visas would be issued each year, up from 66,000. Companies would be forced to pay those workers “prevailing wages” dictated by the Department of Labor’s regional standards.

Prevailing wages, which were first adopted nationally with the Davis-Bacon Act, require employers to pay workers at industry standards that are often determined by union pay, according to Steve Allen of the Capital Research Center.

“[Prevailing wage is] usually interpreted to be union wages, which gives unions advantages in bidding for contracts,” Allen said. “It raises prices for whoever’s paying for the project and by requiring union wage regardless, you might as well hire the union guy.”


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