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posted: 8/14/2014 1:01 AM

Township: Repeal prevailing wage law

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Last month the Palatine Township Board approved the Prevailing Wage Act for Palatine Township -- not because it was the right thing to do, but because Illinois forces all local governments to abide by the law which they enacted. Now we are calling on our state representatives to repeal this law.

Why? Because the Act forces governments to pay artificially high hourly rates for construction projects. The Illinois Department of Labor has determined that we must pay the prevailing rate of wages as set for all of Cook County.

These wages are around 40 percent higher than the average wage in our area. The township board has made it a priority to control spending and keep down taxes.

Illinois passed the Prevailing Wage Act in 1941 to ensure that labor disputes did not delay public works projects and to protect workers' jobs from itinerant workers.

Today, it is unfairly eliminating competition by forcing companies to increase their wages for skilled and unskilled workers with no regard to the exact type of work or skill of the employee. The law also interferes with efficient labor utilization because it forces the adherence to union work rules, imposes additional compliance costs including litigation and creates additional administrative costs.

Palatine Township is not alone in seeking repeal. Officials in Palatine, Mount Prospect and Woodstock are also looking to change the law.

Thirty-two states have some form of prevailing wage law. Of the 18 states without the law, 10 repealed it. In most states that have the law, it affects only projects of a certain size -- ranging from $1,000 in California to $500,000 in Maryland. Illinois is one of only nine states that requires prevailing wages be applied to all projects.

Please contact your state representatives and ask them to repeal or change the Prevailing Wage Law. We don't need laws that increase spending and raise taxes.

Sharon Langlotz-Johnson and the Palatine Township board

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