Late on July 28th, Governor Pritzker took action to increase accountability for equity in the construction workforce by signing Chicago Women In Trades’ data transparency bill, HB 3400! The new law – PA 103-0347 will go into effect starting January 1st, 2024.
The law amends the Prevailing Wage Act, requiring the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) to provide an improved quarterly report on the demographics of workers on publicly funded construction projects. The data will be collected by project and contractor, and provide worker data by gender, race, and ethnicity information, broken down by trade, skill level, and total work hours performed.
We often hear from tradeswomen, particularly Brown and Black, of their struggles accessing the same total work hours as their white male counterparts. The barriers women face to accessing sustainable training and employment impede skill development for those in apprenticeship programs and professional advancement for journey-level tradeswomen. Additionally, the economic impact can be devastating, considering the total number of work hours performed dictates their access to key benefits, like health care and pension credits.
The experiences of tradeswomen shape much of our policy work at Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT). While we know this bill was not enough to address the systematic inequality permeating throughout the construction industry, enhanced data transparency provided by this improved report, especially around total work hours performed, is a great initial step to increase the accountability of employers.
The advocacy by tradeswomen – who wrote to their legislators and shared their stories in visits with elected officials – was critical in getting the bill over the finish line. CWIT also extends our gratitude to our champions in the Illinois General Assembly, who lead this legislative initiative in the Illinois House and Senate. This includes the leadership of Representative Will Davis, Representative Will Guzzardi, Leader Mattie Hunter, and Senator Sara Feigenholtz. Further, CWIT is grateful for the Governor’s support and advocacy for gender and racial equity in Illinois and the collaboration from the Illinois Department of Labor.
CWIT looks forward to celebrating these efforts and affirming our stakeholders’ continued commitment to this work as HB 3400 becomes a public act.