Chuck Wheeler Arguments Against Prevailing Wage

The McHenry County Board passed a Prevailing Wage ordinance at last Tuesday’s meeting.

Before the 20-3 vote, McHenry Republican Chuck Wheeler said the following:

Chuck Wheeler

Prevailing wages are hourly minimum wages placed on government contracts for public work.

This means that if the government funds any part of a project, contractors are required to meet wages set by the Illinois Department of Labor.

These workers are paid more than their private-sector counterparts, who are some of the very people footing the bill for these artificially high wages.

These wages are generally higher than market-rates, and because they are mandated, they stifle competition and discourage contractors from competitively bidding on projects.

This is unfair for multiple reasons:

  1. First, it causes more burdensome taxes on the people of McHenry County.
  2. Second, it denies us choices to properly manage taxpayer dollars in an
    artificial economic environment.
  3. And finally, it reduces funds to spend on other vitally important initiatives.

Prevailing wage legislation is a leg of the Political Machine in Illinois.

Political insiders get their special deals and favors in state and local government by providing generous campaign funding to those in office, helping them maintain their seats of power. Unions are able to provide that funding through the dues they charge rank and file members.

The more rank and file union members make the more dues the union collects to distribute to the campaigns of their choice.

That is were prevailing wage legislation is helpful.

The problem is public sector workers’ paychecks are funded by taxpayers who pick up the bill – taxpayers who are already paying the highest property tax rates in the nation.

Meanwhile, home values are declining and interest rates increasing.

As your representative, I have to point out injustices when I see them.

The Prevailing Wage law is an unjust law which needs to be changed by our General Assembly in Springfield.

I will never vote or it while I sit on this board.

Bad laws have bad consequences. Bad laws punish good people.

And this bad law punishes the taxpayers of our county!

Bottom line we in McHenry County can’t afford the luxury of paying double
to fund capitol projects just so we can say “we pay Chicago high price
wages here!”

Remember the governments that tout these laws don’t have

Triple A ratings they have junk bond ratings and are tittering on insolvency.

Unlike the public-sector unions, we have to be able to do more with less!

These laws actually reduce employment and stagnate growth.

I urge my fellow board members to do the right thing vote against this unjust law and
represent those who truly need you the most … the taxpayers of McHenry County!


Chuck Wheeler Arguments Against Prevailing Wage — 23 Comments

  1. Thanks Chuck for your service to the taxpayers. You’re a true conservative.

  2. Perhaps more taxpayers would get involved if they understood specific amounts involved.
    Here is link to govt. website listing prevailing wages.

    I have searched that site for an explanation of the abbreviations and figures on their wage chart and found none.
    Perhaps someone would explain what all the numbers and acronyms mean.
    Here is first example on chart:

    ASBESTOS ABT/–/GEN/All/All/40.40/40.95/1.5/1.5/2.0/14.23/11.57/0.00/0.50

  3. How about this for an argument? We need to keep people poor and on the edge of economic catastrophe so we have somebody to pray for on Sundays; or so we say we do. Tic, tock, tic, tock…

  4. Angel? You CANNOT actually believe what you posted. Since you claim to be teacher, I know you would want to expand your learning by opening your mind and reading things that are not just opinions, but actual tried and true situations. I give you this to expand your world.
    Unless you are just a paid agitator – then never mind. Because you already know that that would mean you are an idiot.

  5. The only argument that makes sense is that making local governments vote on this is a waste of time.

    Prevailing wage is state law whether the locals vote that they understand it or not.

    Just political theater.

  6. Thank you, Chuck Wheeler!

    You’re a great American!!!

    Thanks go to the only 3 conservatives on the stinking county board: Chuck Wheeler!, Mike Rein, Craig Wilcox

    The rest of you are weak on your BEST day!

  7. That’s not an argument, Eric. That is an opinion. And it’s not a very well researched one. When things go badly, cave? With that attitude we would never have gotten as far as we have. We would still be bowing and scraping at the altars of Baal. Oh, wait a minute.

  8. Proving once again that the entire republican-democrat paradigm is nothing more than a facade.

    The new leader, a Democrat, leads the way to lower taxes and local pension reform, while 20 self-purported Republicans stand for nothing – all the while blaming those pesky democrats for our woes. As if there is a difference!?

    And of course, the MCGOP will continue to tout “Republican Strong!” and solicit contributions to promote and campaign for nothing short of the same type of status quo candidates that we’ve all grown tired and intolerant of.

    Here’s some good advice to the “Republican” folks at home:
    Save that contribution money!
    Skip the “Lincoln Day Dinner”!

    The only thing that will change with your contribution to the GOP is the amount of money in your bank account.

    Great job “Republicans”!

  9. p.s.

    Thank You Chuck Wheeler, Col. Craig Wilcox and Michael Rein for your courage.

    Your NO votes, while maybe “symbolic” as they continue to say, make a very important statement and should be worn as a badge of honor.

    Furthermore, let us not mistake that the 20 YES votes cast were also equally only symbolic in nature, and make a very telling statement about those who cast them, as well!

    And there is absolutely nothing about these YES votes that that can be argued as honorable.

  10. Regarding the McHenry County prevailing wage chart.

    Here are the titles for the 13 columns

    Trade Title – Region – Type – Class – Base Wage – Foreman Wage – M-F OT – OSA – OSH – H/W – Pension –

    Vacation – Training.


    Here are the descriptions for each column:

    Trade Title – Describes the type of work performed by the employee.

    Region – Some trade titles have different wages depending on the region in the county in which the labor is performed. In such instances, the regions are described next to the trade titles…scroll down the chart to see some examples.

    Type – The wages for some trade titles vary depending on where the labor is performed. For instance, is the work performed in a building (BLD), on a highway (HWY), or floating on water (FLT).

    Class – The wages for some trade titles vary depending on the class of labor performed. In such instances, the classes are defined further down the chart. Scroll down the chart, or search on “class” in the chart.

    Base Wage – Self explanatory.

    Foreman Wage – Self explanatory. Foreman is sometimes abbreviated “Frman.”

    M-F OT – This is overtime (more than 8 hours per day) for Monday through Friday. Typically it is 1.5x the base wage. For some strenuous occupations, it is 2x the base wage. It is sometimes abbreviated “M-F>8.”

    OSA – This is overtime on Saturday. For example, 1.5 of $40 per hour is $60 per hour ($40 x 1.5 = $60).

    OSH – This is overtime on Sundays and holidays.

    H/W – This is the hourly rate for the health & welfare insurance fringe benefit.

    Pension – This is the hourly rate for the pension fringe benefit. It will sometimes be abbreviated “Pensn.”

    Vacation – This is the hourly rate for vacation fringe benefit. It will sometimes be abbreviated “VAC.”

  11. Thank you to Chuck and the other 2 for standing up with your no votes.

  12. Thank you Mark.

    So in the example above, the worker must be paid:

    $40.40 wage per hour, plus $14.23 per hour to purchase health insurance, plus $11.57 per hour per hour to purchase pension benefits, (plus 0.5 x $40.40 for training??)

    So the total per hour for what could be classified as a “Hazardous Material Removal” worker is $66.20 per hour? (And ‘training “0.50” is either in lieu of or additional to that amount?)?

  13. Here is l;ink to Bureau of Labor Statistics page

    See pasted below data from that page on Hazardous Material Removal Workers.

    hazardous materials removal workers
    Workers dispose of hazardous materials.

    Quick Facts: Hazardous Materials Removal Workers
    2016 Median Pay $40,640 per year
    $19.54 per hour

    Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
    Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
    On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
    Number of Jobs, 2014 43,700
    Job Outlook, 2014-24 7% (As fast as average)
    Employment Change, 2014-24 3,300
    What Hazardous Materials Removal Workers Do

    Hazardous materials (hazmat) removal workers identify and dispose of asbestos, lead, radioactive waste, and other hazardous materials. They also neutralize and clean up materials that are flammable, corrosive, or toxic.
    Work Environment

    Work environments for hazmat removal workers vary with the material they are handling. Some must wear protective suits for several hours at a time. Completing projects often requires night and weekend work. Overtime is common, particularly for emergency or disaster response workers.
    How to Become a Hazardous Materials Removal Worker

    Hazmat removal workers need a high school diploma and are trained on the job. Most workers complete up to 40 hours of training in accordance with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Some hazmat removal workers need a state license or permit.

    The median annual wage for hazardous materials removal workers was $40,640 in May 2016.
    Job Outlook

    Employment of hazmat removal workers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Most job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation each year.

  14. here is link to BLS May 2016 Removal of Hazardous Waste Workers by State

    Here is a table from that web page which indicates that Illinois pays hourly mean wage of $22.82

    States with the highest employment level in this occupation:
    State Employment (1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
    New York 4,980 0.55 1.74 $30.19 $62,790
    California 4,890 0.31 0.97 $21.57 $44,860
    Texas 4,250 0.36 1.15 $17.87 $37,170
    Ohio 2,150 0.40 1.28 $23.07 $47,990
    Illinois 1,650 0.28 0.89 $22.82 $47,460

  15. Am I missing something?

    How does prevailing wage get to be $66.20 per hour here when all statistics indicate 1/3 of that amount?

  16. To figure out the hourly wage, it is probably easiest to begin with the base wage.

    It is probably obvious one earns a Base Wage or Foreman Wage, + any weekday overtime for more than 8 hours worked per day, + any Overtime Saturday, + Overtime Sunday / Holidays.

    But just look at the base wage for a simple example.

    In addition to the base hourly wage, add the “fringes” hourly wage:

    – Health & Welfare

    – Pension

    – Vacation

    – Training

    As example, the first row in the McHenry County Prevailing Wage Rates chart effective June 5, 2017 is for the position of “Asbestos ABT-GEN.”

    First, ABT-GEN is Asbestos General.

    One Could submit a FOIA request to the Illinois Department of Labor request a cross reference chart for all the Trade Title acronyms.

    The Base Wage is $40.40.

    The Health & Welfare hourly benefit is $14.23.

    The Pension hourly benefit is 11.57

    There is no Vacation hourly benefit (sometimes an increased hourly wage is negotiated in lieu of a vacation hourly benefit).

    The Training hourly benefit is $0.50.

    The fringes are not take home pay.

    Each fringe goes to an unique fund set up by the employer.

    Thus there will be a Health & Welfare Fund, a Pension Fund, and a Training Fund (three disparate funds).

    It is common for trades employees that are employed in private industry to move from employer to employer, since the work is project based.

    Thus, unions and union employers have set up multi-employer (multiple employers) funds to administer the fringe benefits.

    Representatives from both labor and management (management being the employer) sit on a board overseeing the fund.

    Remember prevailing wage is for private sector employees of private sector employers doing government work, as opposed to government employees.

    The government employees receive government health & welfare and pension benefits.

  17. Adding up those four figures, the prevailing wage for an Asbestos General worker in McHenry County, effective June 5, 2017, is:

    $40.40 + $14.23 + $11.57 + $0.50 = $66.70.

    Of that amount, $40.40 is gross wages payable to the employee (less taxes and other government deductions).

    $26.30 are fringes (health & welfare, pension, training) which are placed in funds.

  18. In terms of comparing Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) hourly wage statistics to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) hourly wage statistics, the first point is to be sure it is an apples to apples comparison.

    For example, the IDOL statistic is only for McHenry County, whereas the BLS statistic is for all of Illinois.

    Second, does the BLS statistic include the fringes.

    Third, the IDOL statistic is for an Asbestos General position whereas the BLS statistic is the “hourly mean wage” for May 2016 covering “47-4041 Hazardous Materials Removal Workers” which it describes as “Identify, remove, pack, transport, or dispose of hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead-based paint, waste oil, fuel, transmission fluid, radioactive materials, or contaminated soil.

    Specialized training and certification in hazardous materials handling or a confined entry permit are generally required.

    May operate earth-moving equipment or trucks.”


    Fourth, is how the statistics are gathered.


    Those are just a few points, no doubt there are others.

    So one would likely need more information from the IDOL & BLS.

    And maybe consult with someone at the Illinois Policy Institute who understands the ins and outs of such comparisons.

    And ideally with the union covering the position, although they may not be willing to talk.

    And its always helpful to talk to an actual worker who does the work as they typically have insight that others omit about the job in general.


    At Mchenry Township last Board Meeting on June 8th 2017 the vote was a tie

    A Tie vote means it fails

    even though The attorney was present at the board meeting, it had to be pointed out by Cal Skiner

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *