Bill on Gov. Rauner’s desk would make prevailing wage union scale.
Are Higher Public Works Construction Costs Coming?
In May, the Legislature passed SB 2964, a prevailing wage bill that was pushed hard by organized labor groups. If Gov. Rauner signs the bill, the costs for public works projects will be driven up.
Currently, the Illinois Department of Labor can survey both union and nonunion contractors in the local area when trying to determine the prevailing wage rate for public works projects. However, under the measure, the Labor Department would be forced to use collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) as the area’s prevailing wage if CBAs are already being used for at least one-third of the local workforce. Local governments would also be blocked from trying to establish their own wage rates.
Essentially, SB 2964 will increase labor costs for public construction projects and prevent nonunion contractors from bidding on these projects.
NFIB opposed the bill, and State Director Kim Maisch recently spoke to the Illinois News Network about the problems with the bill: “It does not allow or give any kind of wiggle room to the Department of Labor to look at other, perhaps nonunion, contractors who might be doing similar work as work being done under a prevailing wage.