A Responsible Bidder Ordinance is a Protection Plan for Taxpayers

A Responsible Bidder Ordinance (RBO) is a policy that sets minimal requirements for all contractors bidding on publicly-funded projects in a given political jurisdiction. Typically, these requirements include proof of participation in an apprenticeship training program, proof of certificates of insurance, prequalification surveys, and compliance with all local, state, and federal laws. RBOs are a qualifications-based approach to construction contracting for public entities. The policies are a kind of “insurance policy” for taxpayers. The local ordinances establish clear, objective standards that contractors must meet in order to win bids and construct projects funded using taxpayer dollars.

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Podcast: “Right-to-Work” Regulations and Unions

Episode 3 of For A Living focuses on “right-to-work” laws. The podcast is available on iTunes and on SoundCloud.

What are so-called “right-to-work” laws? What is the historical background of these laws? What are their policy implications for the working class? Where are current political and legal battles occurring?

Professor Robert BrunoProfessor Emily E. LB Twarog, and I are joined by Dale Pierson, a Chicago-area labor lawyer who has served as General Counsel of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150 since 2002, to answer these questions.

Thanks for listening!

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Prevailing Wage Is the Local Market Rate in Illinois

A new report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) finds no evidence for the assertion that prevailing wage “inflates” construction worker wages in Illinois. In fact, after analyzing counties along Illinois’ border, the report finds that a higher prevailing wage for operating engineers has no statistical impact on employment or turnover for men working in road construction. Instead, local market conditions are by far the primary drivers of public construction outcomes.  Continue reading “Prevailing Wage Is the Local Market Rate in Illinois”

8 of the 10 Most-Equal, Highest-Paying Occupations in Illinois Are in Construction

The majority of high-wage, low-inequality jobs in Illinois are in construction occupations, law enforcement careers, and firefighting positions. Politically-driven efforts to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law or to weaken public sector unions would decimate a majority of the middle-class occupations that remain for blue-collar workers in the state.

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