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Weak-willed politicians

Published: Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

To the Editor:

’Tis the season to be jolly. The cold wet blanket that Speaker Michael Madigan, Gov. Pat Quinn and politicians in Springfield have cast to smother small contractors now covers many small towns.

According to a Northwest Herald article, less than 12 percent of the labor force is in a union. This includes public employees, auto workers and tradesmen. For years, this state has attempted to legislate forced unionism. Failing to accomplish that, they pass a “prevailing wage law.” Workers must be paid union scale on projects funded with city, state or federal money. In the contracting field, prevailing does not mean most common, predominant or average, it means imposed and mandated by the state.

What’s this have to do with Christmas and small towns spending your tax dollars? Landscapers and decorating companies are required by law to pay union electrician wages to workers putting up Christmas lights or suffer severe penalties. That’s $43 an hour plus Social Security and other costs. Thus, fewer lights.

This law is the budgetary reason many community projects have been reduced or abandoned. It hasn’t created prosperity or improved the quality of the work, but has adversely affected many lives. Qualified companies, asphalt, concrete, carpentry, irrigation, electrical and plumbing, that worked for villages for years are required to charge 1.5 to 3 times more for the same work.

You and the village are obligated to pay, when you can.

Union lobbyists and weak-willed politicians cause independent business to close, while reducing community services and development.

Merry Christmas, Springfield.

Ed Riess


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