Section 26. In the employment of mechanics and apprentices, teamsters, chauffeurs and laborers in the construction of public works by the commonwealth, or by a county, town, authority or district, or by persons contracting or subcontracting for such works, preference shall first be given to citizens of the commonwealth who have been residents of the commonwealth for at least six months at the commencement of their employment who are veterans as defined in clause Forty-third of section 7 of chapter 4 and who are qualified to perform the work to which the employment relates and, within such preference, preference shall be given to service-disabled veterans; and secondly, to citizens of the commonwealth generally who have been residents of the commonwealth for at least six months at the commencement of their employment, and if they cannot be obtained in sufficient numbers, then to citizens of the United States, and every contract for such work shall contain a provision to this effect. Each county, town or district in the construction of public works, or persons contracting or sub-contracting for such works, shall give preference to veterans and citizens who are residents of such county, town, authority or district and, within such preference, preference shall be given to service-disabled veterans. The rate per hour of the wages paid to said mechanics and apprentices, teamsters, chauffeurs and laborers in the construction of public works shall not be less than the rate or rates of wages to be determined by the commissioner as hereinafter provided; provided, that the wages paid to laborers employed on said works shall not be less than those paid to laborers in the municipal service of the town or towns where said works are being constructed; provided, further, that where the same public work is to be constructed in two or more towns, the wages paid to laborers shall not be less than those paid to laborers in the municipal service of the town paying the highest rate; provided, further, that if, in any of the towns where the works are to be constructed, a wage rate or wage rates have been established in certain trades and occupations by collective agreements or understandings in the private construction industry between organized labor and employers, the rate or rates to be paid on said works shall not be less than the rates so established; provided further, that in towns where no such rate or rates have been so established, the wages paid to mechanics, teamsters, chauffeurs and laborers on public works, shall not be less than the wages paid to the employees in the same trades and occupations by private employers engaged in the construction industry. This section shall also apply to regular employees of the commonwealth or of a county, town, authority or district, when such employees are employed in the construction, addition to or alteration of public buildings for which special appropriations of more than one thousand dollars are provided. Payments by employers to health and welfare plans, pension plans and supplementary unemployment benefit plans under collective bargaining agreements or understandings between organized labor and employers shall be included for the purpose of establishing minimum wage rates as herein provided.
Permanent and temporary laborers employed by the state department of highways and by the metropolitan district commission shall receive such salary or compensation as may be fixed under and in accordance with sections forty-five to fifty inclusive of chapter thirty.