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Prevailing wage good policy

Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

On June 17, the McHenry County Board voted 13-10 against adopting the prevailing wage schedule they are required by law to follow for public works built in the county.

This vote is nothing more than an attempt to decrease the wages of thousands of McHenry County’s middle-class workers. They are quite simply taking money from working class people in a misguided attempt to save a few dollars on public works projects.

Decent wages and benefits for workers is the lifeline to establishing a strong economic region. Local workers patronize local businesses, purchase real estate, carry their own health insurance and pay taxes. A cutthroat race to pay them less and less with each project would cripple their families and the entire local economy.

And the kicker is a lower prevailing wage likely would not even save the county any money. Study after study has shown no direct correlation between a lower wage rate and lower overall construction costs. It simply doesn’t work like that. Higher paid workers are more efficient, safer and build a better end product.

The thing I find most curious is when the vote came to the board chairwoman last year, deadlocked at 11-11, she voted “yes” to comply with the Illinois State Prevailing Wage Law. When the vote came to this same board chairwoman this year, at 12-10 “no”, she voted “no.”

What changed from last year that would cause her to change her vote? A vote based on politics? Nah, couldn’t be.

Vern Bauman

Wonder Lake

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