Department of Workforce Development – Prevailing Wage

May 5, 2009

The Department of Workforce Development’s Labor Standards Bureau (“DWD”) recently issued decisions that require prevailing wage paid for private developments.

The DWD recently issued prevailing wage decisions that were adverse to thirteen municipalities. Pursuant to Wisconsin law, municipalities have long required private developers to construct whatever infrastructure is necessary to support the particular development. Municipalities were not required to request prevailing wage rate determinations and contractors were not required to pay prevailing wage. In these recent decisions, the DWD reasoned that private projects are subject to prevailing wage law because municipalities and developers enter into development agreements and the public infrastructure may be dedicated to a municipality. The decisions appear to apply retroactively to projects that may have already been completed.

The Initial Decisions have been appealed to the DWD and, after the DWD issues its Final Determination, will likely be appealed to county circuit courts.