Governor Pritzker's First Day in Office

January 16, 2019 - CLDC LMCC LECET

Governor JB Pritzker used his first day in office to sign a robust package of legislation and executive orders designed to raise and protect wages and begin reversing some of the harm caused by former Governor Bruce Rauner and his administration’s flagrant disregard for Illinois worker protection laws and policies. “For hardworking people across Illinois, know that your state government has your back. Whether it’s pay equity for women, prosecuting employers who engage in wage theft, instituting prevailing wage requirements, using project labor agreements, restoring state employees’ steps, or promoting diversity in state contracts, these steps are the first of many to take bold action to support working families. This work is far from done, and I look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly to advance core priorities so working families across Illinois can thrive,” said Governor Pritzker.

As one of his first actions, the Governor signed legislation to protect workers employed on publicly funded construction projects. The new law (SB 203) establishes the area union rates by craft in each county as the prevailing wage and requires the Department of Labor (IDOL) to publish them by July 15 of each year. In doing so, the bill reverses some of the harmful tactics used by the former administration in its attempts to sabotage prevailing wage requirements and drive down wages and benefits in the construction industry. SB 203 also takes steps to improve employment of under-represented groups by requiring the IDOL to issue demographic reports and make recommendations on how to increase the number of women and minorities employed on public works projects. 

Governor Pritzker also signed Executive Order (EO) 2019-02, which requires all state agencies to comply with the Project Labor Agreements Act. Pritzker’s order restores the practice of using PLAs whenever practical, a policy that was completely discarded by the Rauner administration. The use of PLAs ensures the highest standards of quality and efficiency at the lowest responsible cost and is particularly beneficial to the state in predicting costs on complex projects.

The Executive Order also addresses the pervasive problem of wage theft and worker exploitation by directing the Illinois Department of Labor to handle all cases expeditiously including referring appropriate cases to the Attorney General. This will allow the administration to hold bad actors accountable and protect workers.

“The union men and women of the Chicago Laborers’ were among the first to support JB Pritzker’s candidacy for Governor because we know that he is the real deal,” said James Connolly, Business Manager of the Chicago Laborers’ District Council.  “Taking these actions on his first day in office has set the tone for his entire administration and he’s demonstrating that State policy should respect workers, recognize the value we contribute to the state economy, and promote dignity and fair compensation for what we do.”