Appeal from the Circuit Court of Ogle County; the Hon. Thomas
R. Hornsby, Judge, presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE SEIDENFELD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
This appeal challenges the constitutionality of "An Act regulating wages of * * * workers employed in any public works * * *" (Prevailing Wage Act) insofar as it is construed to define "general prevailing rate of wages" as wages paid to employees working on public works only. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 39s-1 et seq.
The county board of Ogle County passed a resolution ascertaining the prevailing wages to be paid on public works projects in the county by first inquiring into wage rates paid on both public and private construction projects for similar trades. Using this information, the county board passed a resolution which averaged the rate set for each of the construction crafts to arrive at the prevailing wage for each craft. The plaintiffs, who are representative of certain trade unions in the county, objected to this method, claiming that the statute limits the inquiry to wages paid on public works projects. They further claim error in the mathematical computation.
Following a hearing, the county board adhered to its resolution. Plaintiffs sought administrative review in the circuit court. Various parties doing business in Ogle County were permitted to intervene as of right. The circuit court, finding no issue of fact, reversed the county board's determination based on the law and directed the county to reascertain the prevailing rate of wages by limiting its inquiry to wages paid on public works. The county and intervenors appeal, contending that the statute, so construed, is unconstitutional as a violation of due process and equal protection standards.
We consider first the contention of the plaintiffs that the county lacks standing to challenge the constitutionality of the Prevailing Wage Act because a municipal entity is not a "person" entitled to fifth and fourteenth amendment protections of due process and equal protection under the Federal Constitution and under similar provisions in the State Constitution. (See Village of Riverwoods v. Department of Transportation (1979), 77 Ill.2d 130, 136; Franciscan Hospital v. Town of Canoe Creek (1979), 79 Ill. App.3d 490, 496-97.) This argument was not advanced by petitioners in the trial court and they are therefore precluded from raising it on appeal. (Demchuk v. Duplancich (1982), 92 Ill.2d 1, 11; Kravis v. Smith Marine, Inc. (1975), 60 Ill.2d 141, 147.) We will therefore consider the constitutional arguments without reviewing the issue of the standing of the county and the intervenors to raise them.
The statute provides, as pertinent:
"Sec. 1. It is the policy of the State of Illinois that a wage of no less than the general prevailing hourly rate as paid for work of a similar character in the locality in which the work is performed, shall be paid to all laborers, workers and mechanics employed by or on behalf of any and all public bodies engaged in public works, exclusive of maintenance work." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 39s-1.
"Sec. 2. This Act applies to the wages of laborers, mechanics and other workers employed in any public works, as hereinafter defined, by any public body and to anyone under contracts for public works.
As used in this Act, unless the context indicates otherwise:
`Public works' means all fixed works constructed for public use by any public body, other than work done directly by any public utility company, whether or not done under public supervision or direction, or paid for wholly or in part out of public funds.
The terms `general prevailing rate of hourly wages,' `general prevailing rate of wages' or `prevailing rate of wages' when used in this Act mean the hourly cash wages plus fringe benefits for health and welfare, insurance, vacations and pensions paid generally, in the locality in which the work is being performed, to employees engaged in work of a similar character on public works." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 39s-2.
"Sec. 3. Not less than the general prevailing rate of hourly wages for work of a similar character on public works in the locality in which the work is performed, and not less than the general prevailing rate of hourly wages for legal holiday and overtime work, shall be paid to all laborers, workers and mechanics employed by or on behalf of any public body engaged in the construction of public works, exclusive or maintenance work. * * *" Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 39s-3.
"Sec. 4. The public body awarding any contract for public work or otherwise undertaking any public works, shall ascertain the general prevailing rate of hourly wages in the locality in which the work is to be performed, for each craft or type of worker or mechanic needed to execute the contract * * *." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 39-4.)
The county and the intervenors contend that the act as construed by the circuit court unconstitutionally deprives the taxpayers of Ogle County of property by forcing them to pay, they claim, substantially higher wages to workers on public projects than is paid on private projects, without a rational relation to the purpose of the act. They also contend that the statutory construction substantially interferes with ...