On November 29, 2016, the Illinois House of Representatives failed by one vote to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 2964, the so-called “Prevailing Wage Bill.” The law would have required municipal governments to pay laborers based on negotiated agreements in the localities where that work takes place, as long as at least 30% of workers in the area are covered by the agreement.
Under the state’s current Prevailing Wage Act, local governments determine the pay rates for trade workers on public projects each year, often – but not necessarily – based on the rates recommended by the Illinois Department of Labor. Senate Bill 2964 would have legally fixed worker’s wages to existing union collective bargaining agreements. The bill had widespread trade union support, and was passed earlier this year by the Illinois legislature.
But Gov. Rauner vetoed the Prevailing Wage Bill in July, claiming that it took too much power away from local governments and would raise the cost of taxpayer-funded projects. To override Gov. Rauner’s veto, the Illinois House needed 71 votes. The final vote was 70-42 – one vote shy of what was needed.