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June 25, 2003

Blagojevich reinforces Prevailing Wage Act
Public Work Contracts must pay prevailing rate of wages

ROCK ISLAND, ILL. – Continuing to protect working families and encouraging responsible employers, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today that strengthens the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act by requiring enforcement, accountability and assurances of the prevailing wage law for contractors and subcontractors on state projects. The signed legislation also accompanies another law, Senate Bill 1212, the governor recently approved that expands the prevailing wage act to include all Illinois First projects.

“Together, House Bill 3398 and Senate Bill 1212 dramatically improve the Prevailing Wag Act and give the Department of Labor the tools they need to enforce the law,” Blagojevich said during the bill signing ceremony held at IBEW Local, 1700 52nd Ave. The governor visited the Rock Island city as part of his 13-county tour of northwest Illinois.

House Bill 3398 affirms the requirement that any public body awarding a public works contract must pay the prevailing rate of wages to all laborers. Also by stipulating that the contractors must have in their bid that prevailing wages will be paid and post a current copy of the prevailing wage, the measure eliminates excuses of contractors unaware of their prevailing wage responsibilities.

Further, the new law requires that contractors must maintain detailed employment records, including the hourly wages paid and how many hours each day worked, from public works projects for three years. To give back up to the law, the Department of Labor now has the authority to require sworn statements form contractors who must confirm the accuracy of their record.

Senate Bill 1212 is another prevailing wage bill signed by the governor that expands the act’s coverage to include all Illinois First projects and all projects funded in whole or in part by public funds, including ethanol plants.

“These bills ensure that every tax dollar we spend will help the working families of Illinois. They mean good jobs that guarantee good wages,” Blagojevich said. “When we pay prevailing wages on public work projects, we build more than just roads, bridges, and buildings, we help build communities and grow the local economy.”

The bill was sponsored in the House by state Reps. Jack McGuire, D-Joliet; Jack Franks, D-Woodstock; and Robert Rita, D-Blue Island and in the Senate by state Sens. Lawrence Walsh, D-Elwood,  and Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa.

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