Government Printing Council

promoting cost effective and efficient dissemination of
government publications and information to individuals and businesses



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 GPO 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. 

Recently there 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. 

However, 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 it.  Doing so would certainly assist union shops in being more competitive, as non-union shops would have to pay prevailing wage. 

The unfortunate 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.

Mission Statement:

The Government Printing Council supports the continuation and improvement of a centralized, open, competitive federal government print procurement system that provides quality printed products, at the lowest total cost to the agencies and the taxpayers



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