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Thursday, March 23, 2023

A Responsible Bidder Process Should Not Exclude Non-Union Companies


Updated Post, Sept. 6, 2022 / After the one-hour discussion at the City Council meeting on Sept. 6, 2022, City Council members voted 4-4 to follow City Staff recommendations regarding a “responsible bidder process,” supporting the opinion of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce Business Works Committee that was presented by the NACC Government Affairs column in print for PN readers in August 2022.

The entire discussion at the City Council meeting is available to watch in the City’s archives by clicking here. Simply scroll down to “O. Reports and Recommendations 22-1063.” The discussion with public comments begins at 1:27 into the meeting and runs until 2:29 before the conclusion of the meeting.

Original Online Post, Aug. 17, 2022 / The NACC Business Works Committee voted to oppose a requirement in the local “responsible bidder process” (RBP) which would exclude non-union companies and their sub-contractors from bidding on capital projects in Naperville. Should this requirement be included in the “responsible bidder process” City of Naperville ordinance, all companies that bid on local capital projects and their subcontractors must participate in a U.S. Department of Labor approved apprenticeship training program.

Requiring such programs clearly discriminates against non-union companies, preventing them from bidding on high-dollar capital projects. It further discriminates against sub-contractors, many of whom are small businesses and minority-owned businesses, from securing work through government contracts. It is not feasible or financially viable for small contractors to have a United States Department of Labor (USDOL) approved apprentice and training program outside a union driven initiative.

Should the apprenticeship requirement pass, the City of Naperville will have significantly reduced competition for contracts. The apprentice and training requirement will stymie small contractors from bidding on local public works projects, which lessens competition and increases the cost of public projects increasing the burden on taxpayers. Additionally, it will become more difficult for the City to procure local contractors and use local labor.

A key legislative priority of the NACC advocacy efforts is to support education and workforce development. However, investment in workforce development must be done equitably. Giving preferential treatment to unionized businesses with established USDOL sanctioned apprenticeship programs is not equitable.

Requiring all bidders and sub-contractors to participate in active apprenticeship and training programs approved and registered with the USDOL’s Office of Apprenticeship is bad policy and prevents fair competition among members of our business community and discriminates against our small and minority-owned business.

Please reach out if you want more information on this or other policies impacting the business community.

Last Updated, Sept. 7, 2022

Reba Morgan Osborne
Reba Morgan Osbornehttp://naperville.net
Reba Morgan Osborne is the Director of Government Affairs for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact Reba at (630) 544-3387 or rosborne@naperville.net.