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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Binghamton Constr. Co., Inc., 347 U.S. 171 (1954)

United States v. Binghamton Construction Co., Inc.

No. 65

Argued December 1, 1953

Decided March 8, 1954

347 U.S. 171


The schedule of minimum wage rates included in a government construction contract, as required by the Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. (1946 ed.) § 276a, is not a representation or warranty by the Government to the contractor as to the wage rates prevailing in the contract area, and the Secretary of Labor's action in prescribing minimum wage rates lower than those actually prevailing in the area when bids were invited on a construction project does not give the contractor a valid claim against the Government. Pp. 347 U. S. 172-178.

(a) The purpose of the Act was not to benefit contractors, but to protect their employees from substandard earnings by fixing a floor under wages on government projects. Pp. 347 U. S. 176-177.

(b) The requirement of the Act and the contract thereunder that the contractors pay wages at rates "not less than" those specified is no assurance that they will not have to pay more. Pp. 347 U. S. 177-178.

(c) That the Act requires the minimum wage rates specified in government contracts to be "based upon . . . the wages . . . determined by the Secretary of Labor to be prevailing" in the area where the work is to be performed does not require a different result. Pp. 347 U. S. 177-178.

123 Ct.Cl. 804, 107 F.Supp. 712, reversed in part.

The Court of Claims awarded respondent a recovery based on the difference between the minimum wage rate specified under 40 U.S.C. (1946 ed.) § 276a in respondent's contract with the Government and higher rates specified in a determination by the Secretary of Labor for the Federal Works Agency. 123 Ct.Cl. 804, 107 F.Supp. 712. This Court granted certiorari. 346 U.S. 809. Reversed as to this point, p. 347 U. S. 178. chanrobles.com-red

Page 347 U. S. 172


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