Illinois’ Construction Apprenticeship Programs Return $11 in Total Benefits for Every Dollar Invested

 

Published by Frank Manzo IV
AUGUST 24, 2016

A new report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois finds that apprenticeship programs have significant positive social and economic impacts in Illinois.

Construction is the fastest-growing industry in Illinois. Over the next decade, the construction industry is projected to grow at twice the pace of the overall state economy, adding thousands of new jobs. All of the fastest-growing trades in Illinois’s construction industry require at least 3 years of apprenticeship training.

For many young Illinois workers, enrolling in a registered apprenticeship program is a better option than attending college or university. The annual income gain from participating in a registered apprenticeship program is $3,442 on average, greater than the average effect of having an associate’s degree and many bachelor’s degrees- including social work, English language and composition, and linguistics and foreign languages.

(Read More)

(PDF Copy of Study)

Attacks On Prevailing Wage Laws Disproportionally Hurt Veterans

Report Finds That As Hundreds Of Thousands Of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Enter Work Force, Prevailing Wage Greatly Improves Economic Outcomes For Veterans

May 10, 2016 – Posted by Frank Manzo IV

A first-of-its-kind study released on May 10, 2016 finds that prevailing wage greatly improves economic outcomes for veterans and that growing attacks on prevailing wage at the state level will disproportionally hurt the hundreds of thousands post-9/11 veterans who are returning to the workforce.

Exploring of the economic impact of state prevailing wage laws on veterans in the construction industry, the study was commissioned by VoteVets, the largest progressive group of veterans in America. The study was conducted by Frank Manzo IV of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professor Robert Bruno, and Colorado State University-Pueblo Economist, Dr. Kevin Duncan.

“The data clearly shows that veterans work in the skilled construction trades at significantly higher rates than non-veterans,” said Manzo. “The difference is even more pronounced in states with average or strong prevailing wage policies-so any changes in these laws will have an outsized impact on those who have served in the military.”

(Read More)

(PDF of Study)

(Copy of Summary)

Add your name: Strong prevailing wage laws improve the lives of veterans and military families

votevets.org

Many of the veterans who come back from war return to blue-collar construction jobs or open a contracting business that benefit substantially from prevailing wage laws. In 2014, more than 400,000 veterans held such jobs.

Prevailing wage is like minimum wage for skilled construction workers and ensures those veterans can provide a good life for their families. Overturning those laws would drive thousands of Illinois veterans below the poverty line and into a crippling spiral of debt. Our nation’s heroes deserve better than that from our elected officials.

(Read More)

(PDF of Fact Sheet)

Local Right-to-Work Zones Would Weaken the Illinois Economy

April 6, 2015
Frank Manzo IV, Policy Director
Illinois Economic Polict Institute (ILEPI)

 

Efforts to create local “right-to-work” zones would have negative impacts on workers and the economy in Illinois, according to a new report released today by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The report, The Impact of Local “Right-to-Work” Zones: Predicting Outcomes for Workers, the Economy and Tax Revenues in Illinois (PDF), investigates the economic and policy impacts of adopting local “right-to-work” zones in Illinois, testing claims made by proponents of the ordinances. The report finds that worker incomes are lower in economies with right-to-work laws and that employment effects are inconclusive. For instance, average worker wages are $2.90 per hour (13 percent) higher in Illinois than in right-to-work Indiana. At the same time, the unemployment rate in eastern Illinois counties is lower than in right-to-work counties across the Indiana border in December 2014.

(Read More)
(Read Full Report here)

New Study: ROAD AND BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION WORKERS IN THE MIDWEST

Productive, High-Skilled, and Well-Paid

March 1, 2015

Road and Bridge Construction Workers in the Midwest was co-authored by Frank Manzo, Policy Director of the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, and Professor Robert Bruno of the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations.  It  looks at the economic and construction-related benefits of skilled workers in the Great Lakes region, which the study defined as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Executive Summary

Construction workers who specialize in road and bridge infrastructure projects are productive, high-skilled, and well-paid in America’s “Great Lakes” region- which comprises Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Key findings from this report include:

  • Employment in construction jobs is expected to increase by 21.4 percent over the next decade, the second-fastest growing occupation. The majority of these new employment opportunities will require the completion of a three- to five-year apprenticeship program.
  • In 2013, three out of every five new construction jobs in the Great Lakes region were filled by a candidate with an associate’s or apprenticeship degree.
  •  Road and bridge construction workers each produce an average of $155,100 in economic value for the Great Lakes region, second only to their counterparts in the Far West states ($162,461 per worker). Wisconsin’s street, highway, and bridge construction workers were the most productive in the Great Lakes region, annually contributing an average of $184,592 to the economy.
  •  Construction workers in the Great Lakes region build highways in a cost-effective manner, constructing each lane-mile up to 43 percent cheaper than the national average.
  • The apprenticeship share- the ratio of active apprentices to total workers in construction occupations- is higher in states with a prevailing wage law (7.7 percent) than in states without a prevailing wage law (5.4 percent). Additionally, 10 percentage-point increase in a state’s construction industry unionization rate is associated with a 3.2 percentage-point average increase in its apprenticeship share.

Construction workers across the Great Lakes region are well-compensated and can support a middle-class family. Road and bridge construction workers receive significant training in the Great Lakes states and, in turn, translate their increased human capital into higher levels of productivity for employers. Unfortunately, there are threats across the Midwest to weaken the institutions that are statistically correlated with increased worker efficiency, including prevailing wage laws and trades unions. If the Great Lakes region is to remain one of the nation’s leaders in worker productivity on public construction projects, these institutions must be both defended and strengthened.

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Victory for Workers: Cook Co. Board Passes Anti-Wage Theft Law (VIDEO)

Ashlee Rezin

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015, 11:35am

The Cook County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously passed legislation that aims to protect employee wages and force businesses to more closely follow labor laws.

Under the ordinance, companies or business owners found guilty of wage theft are barred for five years from obtaining Cook County procurement contracts, business licenses or property tax incentives. Also, companies pursuing business with the county will now have to certify compliance with federal and state wage and labor laws.

“[Wage theft] is unfair to hard-working employees and their families and it’s unfair to competing businesses which are operating within the confines of the law,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, shortly after Tuesday’s vote. “The legislation passed today will make Cook County a national leader targeting wage theft.”

(Read More)

Cook County OKs ordinance to combat wage theft

By Alejandro Cancino

February 10, 2015, 4:39 PM

Cook County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance aimed at deterring businesses from engaging in wage theft. Wage theft has been defined as having employees work off the clock, for example. It is a violation of labor law.

Businesses that have broken state or federal wage and labor laws would be disqualified from receiving property tax abatements, business licenses or county contracts. Companies seeking to do business with Cook County also would be required to file an affidavit certifying they have not violated any wage and labor laws.

“We are hoping companies would think twice about engaging in wage theft,” said Edward Olivieri, a spokesman for Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, who introduced the ordinance.

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ILEPI Releases New Economic Commentary on Impact of Prevailing Wage Law Repeal

January 28, 2015

Recent commentary has just been published by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute.  See below for key findings and a copy of the full report.

Key Findings:

·        Repealing a prevailing wage law will not grow a state’s construction industry

·        Repeal of a state prevailing wage law will further detach worker productivity from worker wages, contributing to the growing problem of income inequality in America.

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Misclassified Employees Force Taxpayers To Subsidize Costs, Harm Economy

CHICAGO – Illinois employers wrongly classified nearly 20,000 of their workers as independent contractors rather than full-time employees in 2013, skipping out on more than $250 million in wages and contributions to funds that support laid-off and injured workers, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said today.

Taxpayers ultimately cover the costs of misclassified workers because it robs the state of payroll taxes normally removed from a worker’s paycheck. Those funds typically are not removed from payments given to independent contractors. In some cases, a homeowner could be responsible for costs incurred if a misclassified worker is injured while working on the owner’s dwelling.

“The consequences of misclassification are easy to see when a worker is hurt or an honest business owner is under-bid for a project. What hides in plain sight are the socialized costs that occur when a dishonest employer deceives a customer and cuts corners by not playing by the rules,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said.

“The labor movement is about creating strong communities and protecting workers from unscrupulous employers,” said Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez. “Tactics like worker misclassification erodes that by violating workers’ employment and labor rights.”

(Read More)

(PDF Release)

16th Annual NAFC Conference Registration

The National Alliance for Fair Contracting will be holding its 16th Annual Conference this year in the lakeside city of Chicago, IL, September 17-19, 2014.

The NAFC Conference provides a national forum for those committed to combating noncompliance of state and federal public contracting laws and draws attendance from contractors, labor unions, fair contracting organizations, attorneys and various officials from local, state and federal governments around the nation.

This year’s conference will be hosted at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. NAFC Chairman Rocco Davis and the rest of NAFC’s Board of Directors are diligently planning content and speakers to ensure this will be our most successful conference to date.

Register Now