Chicago Area Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust

Illinois Prevailing Wage Act:

“It is the policy of the State of Illinois that a wage of no less than the general prevailing hourly rate as paid for work of a similar character in the locality in which the work is performed, shall be paid to all laborers, workers and mechanics employed by or on behalf of any and all public bodies engaged in public works.” (820 ILCS 130/1, Sec. 1)

And contrary to what many may think, prevailing wage legislation, and the awarding of public projects to responsible bidders rather than just the lowest bidder does not cause higher taxes. A responsible bidding company will have more professional workers with more training, experience and expertise who will work more efficiently, safely and accurately, completing the project at an overall lower cost to taxpayers when all is said and done.

Prevailing wage legislation is something that we at Chicago Area LECET strongly support and work hard to educate people about. First and foremost, prevailing wage legislation helps to assure that Laborers and other tradesmen on public works construction projects receive fair wages to support themselves and their families. This is the single most important goal that we as a labor-management organization have, and prevailing wage laws help us achieve that goal.

Second, prevailing wage laws help to assure a level bidding field on these public construction projects. This gives reputable union contractors that pay their workers fair wages and benefits and invest in training and education for their workers a fair shot at winning bids for public construction projects. Too often, non-union contractors that underpay their workers in order to save on labor costs win jobs at the expense of reputable, responsible bidding union contractors that look out for the welfare of their employees.

The predatory contractor who pays underskilled employees with little experience a low wage, will inevitably have more accidents on the worksite, require more rebuilds and adjustments, and go over budget more often than a responsible company with employees to whom they are dedicated, and who are dedicated to their work. This shows that there is more to consider in a bid than the amount, and that the public will be better served by the enforcement of prevailing wage laws.

For a listing of current prevailing wage rates please visit the Illinois Department of Labor website at:

For information on which projects receive state money and fall under prevailing wage laws, visit

To help in the enforcement of prevailing wage laws, use this Illinois Department of Labor Prevailing Wage Complaint Form to report any contractors, owners or public bodies that are not paying prevailing wages.

It is our goal at Chicago Area LECET to help educate people about prevailing wage legislation and to assist the Illinois Department of Labor and other regulatory bodies in the enforcement of it, ensuring that our union contractors are on a level playing field when bidding on public construction projects.
Click here to see how the state Government is strengthening Prevailing Wage laws by passing Public Act 94-0515, which requires contractors and subcontractors on public works projects to submit certified payroll records to the public body on whose behalf they perform work. You can also find more details on this legislation on our government relations page.
All workers - union or nonunion - performing work on public construction projects deserve to be paid their area's prevailing rate of wages and benefits.