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Gov. Rauner Vetoes Prevailing Wage Law

Labor union supported measures nixed due to continuing Illinois budget funding issues

July 25, 2016

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 2964 late last week that would have required state officials to pay construction workers on public works construction projects hourly wages equal to the nearest union worker collective-bargaining in the area.

The Illinois State Chamber of Commerce was pleased with Rauner's veto. The chamber's President and CEO Todd Maisch said, "We support the veto of SB 2964 because as passed, it would have eliminated the voice of local government in determining local wage rates. That would have led to inflated costs for local public works projects and to a damper on local economies. The business community wants laws and policies that help Illinois become more attractive to the creation and retention of jobs in our state. Increasing project costs and the resulting increases in property taxes would not be good for the job climate. SB 2964 would have required the Illinois Department of Labor to exclusively use collective bargaining agreements in its calculations of a given local area's prevailing wage. Yet a study, The State of the Unions 2015, found that more than 60 percent of construction workers in Illinois are non-union. That means local rates could have been based on collective bargaining agreements several counties away."

 Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan said in a posted statement, “Governor Rauner has shown, once again, that his personal agenda is more important than the people of Illinois. Governor Rauner’s veto continues his mission of eroding the middle class in Illinois by making it as difficult as possible to increase the wages of Illinois Working Families

“Prevailing wage laws ensure our tax dollars stay in our communities with local contractors and local workers. Senate Bill 2964 would have simplified ascertaining the prevailing wage for everyone. The governor says he supports local control, but when you don’t enforce prevailing wage laws, it is our local contractors and working families that lose.”

Several other prevailing wage laws for home health care workers and child care workers were also vetoed. Rauner said he vetoed the wage-related measures because they are too costly for the state and contain no funding sources.

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