MISLEADING STATEMENTS REPORTED IN RECENT ARGUS LEADER STORY;
PIERRE, S.D. – The Argus Leader reported misleading statements in a story featured on the
cover of yesterday’s paper that the Associated General Contractors of South Dakota (AGC) is
part of the problem of lower wages for workers in the construction industry in this state. There
are many factual errors printed in the article titled “Daugaard overrides workforce grant
decision”. This setting the record straight document is to be used for clarification of the
erroneous reporting in this story.
Error #1: Interviewee Mark Anderson, president of the South Dakota AFL-CIO states that the
AGC is part of the low wages problem in South Dakota. He specifically cited a state wage
survey form required of companies and groups doing road construction projects in South
Dakota. Mr. Anderson stated AGC doesn’t report retirement and health care benefits on the
form, thus giving it a competitive advantage over companies from out of state that bid on the
FACT: AGC is a trade association founded on three principles, Skill, Integrity &
Responsibility. Historically, AGC has promoted higher wages for the construction
industry and in no way are we part of the low wage problem as stated by Mr. Anderson.
The wage survey cited by Mr. Anderson is a highway-heavy construction wage survey
conducted by the SD Department of Transportation (SDDOT) in accordance with the
US Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Davis-Bacon Act regulations. This includes
collecting wages and fringe benefits paid to employees directly from highway
construction companies working in South Dakota. The survey includes hundreds of
construction companies from both in-state and out-of-state regardless if they are AGC-
member companies. All construction workers on state or federal highway construction
projects in South Dakota are paid according to a specific wage scale established by this
survey. As a trade association, AGC does not complete a wage survey form.
Error #2: “It makes it impossible for companies that come into South Dakota to compete on
road projects,” Anderson said. “Those companies might pay decent wages, but they can’t
compete. The reason AGC does that is so they can corral the market on road projects. It’s
not right, and they’ve been doing it for years.
FACT: AGC not only represents contractors from South Dakota but contractors
from all surrounding states and several other states as well. Many out-of-state
contractors perform tens of millions of dollars of road construction in South Dakota
every year. As evidence of this, in today’s SDDOT Bid Letting, three of the four
apparent low bidders were out-of-state companies. Which means 75% of the road
construction projects let today will be performed by out-of-state contractors. There
is therefore, no unfair advantage to South Dakota contractors.
Error #3: The “Sioux Falls recipient” has been misleadingly reported as being only the
Associated General Contractors (AGC).
FACT: While it is true that the AGC is the fiscal agent, this proposal was put forth
by the Sioux Empire Workforce Development Coalition. The individuals responsible
for the proposal comprise a cross-sector group with representation from
manufacturing, commercial and residential construction, education, government
and professional trade associations. The Community Incentives Matching Program
specifically asked for cross-sector proposals and that is what was provided.
Error #4: The grant money would be used on mobile trailers, which have been utilized
before, and there were some questions on the degree of success with them.
FACT: Mobile trailers are not the only part of the proposed solution. The complete
training solution includes curriculum and trainers as well. In addition to helping
build a pipeline of qualified workers, meaningful training provides the tangible
benefits of increasing a craft worker’s salary. This training will also increase
recruiting by developing abilities needed for the job; retain employees by equipping
them for career advancement; and return on investment by developing a company’s
To read the proposal in its entirety, we invite you to visit
The AGC and its partners are committed to the overall success of Workforce Development in
South Dakota! It is Vital! We are NOT part of the problem, rather a partner in the solution to its
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