Wheeler hails prevailing wage publication measure
Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) believes Illinois businesses need every edge they can get to stay afloat.
That’s why Wheeler cheered the passage of House Bill 3044, which was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner on June 16.
The measures offers a simple but critical language change that Wheeler and others say will make a big dfference for business. It mandates that prevailing wages must be published no later than August 15 every year, essentially putting an end to what some argued was a deliberate attempt on the part of labor unions to stall such publication.
“The purpose of the survey is to determine the real rate of compensation for industries as opposed to the union rate,” Wheeler told the Kane County Times. “It makes sure contractors are aware of the minimum they are responsible for. As contractors bid on projects, they want to be sure they’re aware of what they will be required to do, especially on lengthy projects where budgeting becomes even more important.”
The prevailing wage is defined as “hourly cash wages plus annualized fringe benefits paid generally, in the locality in which the work is being performed, to employees engaged in work of a similar character on public works.”
Though Wheeler and his supporters sought a July 15 deadline for publication, after amendments the bill signed by Rauner set August 15 as the official deadline.
The Laborers District Council recently filed suit against the Illinois Department of Labor over delays in the publication of the 2016 prevailing wage rates. In pushing HB3044, Wheeler is hoping such delays wll be a thing of the past.
Joining Wheeler in bipartisan support of the bill were Jim Durkin (R-Illinois) Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville), Thaddeus Jones (D-Illinois), Latoya Greenwood (D-East St. Louis), Michael P. McAuliffe (R-O’Hare), Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero), Tim Butler (R-Springfield), Tony McCombie (R-Illinois), Patricia Bellock (R-Mattoon) and David Olsen (R-Downers Grove).