2018 Prevailing Wage Methodology

After posting Statewide 2018 prevailing wage rates on August 15, 2018, the Department of Labor has received a number of inquiries regarding specific posted rates. In an effort to answer these and future inquiries, the Department offers the following explanation of its process for ascertaining, investigating, and determining the 2018 rates.

During the month of June 2018, the Department conducted a comprehensive, on-line survey of wage and fringe benefit rates paid to workers in various established categories of work on public works projects in Illinois between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018. The survey solicited information from Illinois-based companies who engaged in construction or demolition work, as well as from unions whose members likely performed such work in Illinois.

The union portion of the survey asked respondents to provide information about what categories of work their members performed (based on trade categories and sub-categories the Department had previously used in connection with ascertaining and publishing prevailing wage rates), and in which Illinois counties members had performed such work. The union portion of the survey asked respondents to provide the hourly rate of wages and fringe benefits members were to be paid during the month of June 2018 for work performed in each relevant category and county. Respondents were also required to email the Department copies of collective bargaining agreements or other documentation that would show that the rates contained in their responses were in effect during the month of June 2018. The full format and text of the union portion of the survey, as well as instructions for filling it out, can be found here.

The contractor portion of the survey asked respondents to advise whether they had performed any work on public works projects in Illinois between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018. Respondents indicating they had not performed any such work were not permitted to continue to submit information in response to the survey. Respondents who indicated they had performed such work were asked to provide information regarding what categories of work they performed (based on the same established trade categories and sub-categories used in the union portion of the survey), and in which Illinois counties such work was performed. The contractor portion of the survey asked respondents to advise how many hours workers employed by respondents had spent performing work in each relevant category and county between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018, and to provide the hourly wage and fringe benefit rates paid during the month of June 2018 to workers performing such work. The full format and text of the contractor portion of the survey, as well as instructions for filling it out, can be found here.

After the survey closed, the Department compiled and organized survey data. As part of this process, the Department discounted certain contractor responses because, after appropriate follow-up with relevant respondents, the Department determined these responses contained erroneous information. Likewise, the Department discounted certain union responses, either because the respondent failed to submit to the Department a collective bargaining agreement or other documentation confirming the submitted rates were in effect during the month of June 2018, or because, after reviewing the respondent’s submitted documentation, the Department determined that the submitted rates were not in effect during the month of June 2018. The remaining responses were considered valid.

For each of the over 6,000 rate “combinations” (that is, categories and/or sub-categories of work in each Illinois county), the Department determined which valid response for that combination contained rates that “prevailed”—that is, which wage and fringe benefit rates contained in a valid survey response should be published as the prevailing wage rates for that combination. The Department’s determinations were based on the following criteria, which were applied uniformly and consistently across each of the 6000+ combinations:

  • If the Department received one—and only one—valid response from a contractor for the combination, the Department published the wage and fringe benefit rates contained in that response as the prevailing wage rates for the combination.
  • If the Department received more than one valid response from contractors for the combination, the Department published the wage and fringe benefit rates contained in the response submitted by the contractor indicating that it had worked the most hours in the combination between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018 as the prevailing wage rates for the combination.
  • If the Department received no valid responses from contractors, and a valid response from one—and only one—union, for the combination, the Department published the wage and fringe benefit rates contained in that response as the prevailing wage rates for the combination.
  • If the Department received no valid responses from contractors, and a valid response from more than one union, for the combination, the Department published the wage and fringe benefit rates contained in the response submitted by the union who, Department records indicated, had, in prior years, submitted wage and fringe benefit rates that the Department had published as the prevailing wage rates for the same combination in those years.
  • Finally, if the Department received no valid responses at all for the combination, the Department republished the previously published rates for the combination.

In order to present a complete picture of how these criteria were applied in each case, the Department is providing here the full set of valid responses the Department received in response to the 2018 survey. For ease of reference, the dataset also includes union responses deemed not to be valid because the respondent did not provide the required confirming documentation. The dataset includes each combination for which the Department received at least one valid response and/or invalid union response, the names of all entities who provided such responses, the hourly wage and fringe benefits each such entity reported were paid (or payable) to workers in the combination during the month of June 2018, and, in the case of entities who responded to the contractor portion of the survey, the number of hours the entity reported were worked in the combination between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018.

Pursuant to the Prevailing Wage Act, parties who disagree with the Department’s determination of specific prevailing wage rates are entitled to file an objection and request a hearing. Such filing must be received by the Department within thirty days of the publication of rates to be considered timely.