JB Pritzker Starts Term by Protecting Working Families in Illinois
On his first day in office, Governor Pritzker reversed the previous governor’s assault on workers. He signed legislation and Executive Orders to protect pay equity for women, prosecuting employers who engage in wage theft, instituting prevailing wage requirements, using project labor agreements, restoring state employees’ time steps, and promoting diversity in state contracts . In his State of the Union Address four years ago, Rauner called for ending prevailing wage laws and project labor agreements.
Senate Bill 203 ensures that the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) enforces the minimum wage rates on public works after collective bargaining with local labor stakeholders to establish prevailing wage rates. The prevailing wage is the hourly rate, benefits and overtime rates paid to the majority of workers, laborers and mechanics in a locality. To prevent public construction projects from destabilizing a local construction industry, a contractor cannot low-ball bids by undercutting local wages. Contractor are required to pay at least the prevailing wage on construction, demolition and maintenance of public works. With everyone on a level field, contractors manage work better and maximize workers' efficiency to out-perform their competition. Executive Order 2019-02 stated that “labor unions are vital partners in Illinois’ efforts to build a strong middle class” and requires project labor agreements for public works projects.
A Project Labor Agreement is a comprehensive pre-hire collective bargaining agreement that is negotiated between a project’s owner (a state for example) and an appropriate labor organization (an area or state building and construction trades council) which sets out the basic terms and work conditions for that particular project.
PLAs ensure the efficient, timely, and most cost effective completion of a construction project by providing a skilled and trained workforce through the craft’s hiring halls; work schedules and general terms for labor are uniform among the crafts; monthly meetings established throughout the project coordinate manpower and settle disputes; dispute resolution procedures address contractual and jurisdictional disputes; ensures a timely completion of the project with no work stoppages; levels the playing field for potential bidders; prevailing wage laws are applied to wage rates and fringe benefits.
“I applaud Governor Pritzker for taking immediate action to lift up the middle class and those striving to get there,” said Mike Carrigan, the Illinois AFL-CIO President. “Signing this package of legislation and executive orders on his first full day in office shows that Governor Pritzker is putting working families first.”