Is My Union Contract Irrelevant on Illinois Prevailing Wage Jobs?

In recent months I have been inundated with calls from union contractors complaining that the Illinois Department of Labor (“IDOL”) will not recognize a local collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) when it comes to compliance with the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act. Specifically, several union contractors of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds have voiced concern and dismay over the IDOL’s refusal to recognize an underlying CBA and force the contractor to walk “lock-step” with published prevailing wage rates and rules that are, at times, decidedly different from the union contract. After handling hundreds of audits and taking several cases through litigation at the IDOL and in State court, it is my opinion that this issue is much more complicated and complex than the IDOL’s stated viewpoint. In other words, there is supporting authority to suggest that an underlying union contract may, in certain limited circumstances, override the prevailing wage law and interpretive rules as determined and published by the IDOL.

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