Gov. Bruce Rauner is again discussing his so-called Turnaround Agenda. But this time, not only did he take questions on the plan, he did so from union officials. Rauner claims his reforms -- including letting local governments decide whether they want to use prevailing wage -- are good for business, and that the law is on his side. "We're highly confident that federal labor law allows local governments to decide for themselves labor issues, if the State authorizes them to do it," says Rauner.
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But Sean Stott with the Laborers International Union of North America disagrees. "It is not a situation that is going to benefit Illinois workers and, ultimately, the Illinois economy," says Stott. "We're taking money out of the pockets of hard-working Illinois workers." Rauner says more money would be freed up for state projects if there wasn't prevailing wage.
Rauner was speaking outside one of a series of meetings described as "listening sessions" statewide hosted by the Illinois Department of Transportation on infrastructure needs ahead of a new capital bill. Rauner was asked, given that organizers didn't want to debate specific road projects at the meeting, if the session even mattered.
"We're out to collect the thoughts and recommendations from leaders all over the state," Rauner says. "Then, we'll be meeting with the General Assembly as we digest those recommendations, and set some priorities, so we can quantify the order and magnitude."