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State public works hiring law triggered by two consecutive months of high unemployment

Tuesday, Jul 7, 2020

* This state law took effect in 2010

Employment of Illinois laborers. Whenever there is a period of excessive unemployment in Illinois, if a person or entity is charged with the duty, either by law or contract, of (1) constructing or building any public works, as defined in this Act, or (2) the clean-up and on-site disposal of hazardous waste for the State of Illinois or any political subdivision of the State, and that clean-up or on-site disposal is funded or financed in whole or in part with State funds or funds administered by the State of Illinois, then that person or entity shall employ at least 90% Illinois laborers on such project. Any public works project financed in whole or in part by federal funds administered by the State of Illinois is covered under the provisions of this Act, to the extent permitted by any applicable federal law or regulation. Every public works contract let by any such person shall contain a provision requiring that such labor be used: Provided, that other laborers may be used when Illinois laborers as defined in this Act are not available, or are incapable of performing the particular type of work involved, if so certified by the contractor and approved by the contracting officer.

* From the Illinois Department of Labor

The law comes into effect following two consecutive months of a state unemployment rate above 5 percent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois’ unemployment rate during the COVID-19 pandemic increased from 4.2 percent in March, to 17.2 percent in April, and 15.2 percent in May. Given the unanticipated and large unemployment increase, IDOL wants to alert public bodies to the details of the law.

“As we all deal with the far-reaching impact of this pandemic, the Illinois Department of Labor wants to remind public officials and employers of the requirements of this law, which has not been triggered in recent years due to low unemployment,” said IDOL Director Michael Kleinik.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul pledged to work with IDOL to enforce the law.

“As the nation faces record levels of unemployment, the people of Illinois should be assured that government is using all available tools to put Illinois residents back to work,” Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “The Employment of Illinois Workers on Public Works Act requires contractors on public works projects to prioritize Illinois workers, and my office stands ready to work with the Department of Labor to enforce the law and ensure that public works projects – which are funded by Illinois taxpayers – are completed using the best workforce in the country.”

The above press release was issued last week and I missed it. A subscriber sent it to me this morning.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

7 Comments
  1. - Commonsense in Illinois - Tuesday, Jul 7, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    >

    I think I’d want people who are trained and qualified to do this particular work would take priority over anything else.


  2. - Commonsense in Illinois - Tuesday, Jul 7, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    Hmmm…my quoting the article relative to clean up and disposal of hazardous waste disappeared.

    Sorry for any confusion.


  3. - iggy - Tuesday, Jul 7, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    I think the public would be interested in an audit of how many state workers have been receiving a paycheck while not being able to complete any work from home. good info to have.


  4. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jul 7, 20 @ 11:35 am:

    The public works law will not come into play for the vast majority of contracted work. It will only affect mega projects like the Jane Byrne interchange or projects that require specialized equipment and training.


  5. - phocion - Tuesday, Jul 7, 20 @ 12:12 pm:

    The Jane Byrne is using federal dollars. Not clear that this law could be used on federally funded projects.


  6. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jul 7, 20 @ 1:22 pm:

    30 ILCS 570/3 says that “… Any public works project funded or financed in whole or in part by federal funds administered by the State of Illinois is covered under the provisions of this Act …”

    The Jane Byrne project is most likely covered by this law.


  7. - Duck Duck Goose - Tuesday, Jul 7, 20 @ 2:13 pm:

    “30 ILCS 570/3 says that “… Any public works project funded or financed in whole or in part by federal funds administered by the State of Illinois is covered under the provisions of this Act…”

    You left off the last half of the sentence. The whole section read:

    “Any public works project financed in whole or in part by federal funds administered by the State of Illinois is covered under the provisions of this Act, to the extent permitted by any applicable federal law or regulation.”

    That’s a big caveat, as the feds are generally less than hospitable toward local-hire requirements.


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