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Westville company seeks exemption from prevailing-wage law

WESTVILLE — A Westville company that is contracted to operate and manage water- and wastewater-treatment plants in several area communities has filed suit against the Illinois Department of Labor in an attempt to become exempt from the state's Prevailing Wage Act.

ERH Enterprises Inc., through attorney David Cox of Monticello, filed a complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief in Vermilion County Circuit Court against the department.

ERH — which manages water-treatment facilities in communities such as Buckley, Hoopeston, Loda, Rossville and Tilton — claims in the lawsuit that it should be exempt from the law that sets a minimum standard for hourly wages paid to all workers employed by or on behalf of any public body engaged in public works.

The Illinois Department of Labor declined to comment on the suit, citing "pending litigation."

In the suit, ERH notes that the Prevailing Wage Act exempts "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 lawsuit adds that the act recognizes two types of public utilities — those that are privately owned, which are subject to the Prevailing Wage Act, and those that are publicly owned, which are not.