Chicago Deserves to Set Own Minimum Wage

Springfield Lawmakers Should Keep Hands Off Home Rule

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—November 17, 2014. Chicago working families are outraged at the news today that Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and State Senator John Cullerton are considering robbing Chicago of its freedom to set its own minimum wage, by annulling Chicago’s ‘home rule’ control over its own regulations and forcing the city to adopt a proposed statewide minimum wage of $10/hour.

According to the United States Department of Commerce, the cost of living in Chicago is higher than any other city in the Midwest, and 20.1% higher than the rest of Illinois. Local residents have spoken out demanding a higher minimum wage. In the March primary elections, 86% of voters in 103 precincts called for a citywide minimum wage of $15/hr, leading legislators to introduce a $15/hr ordinance into City Council in May.

By moving to revise state constitutional law to deny Chicago the right to raise its own minimum wage, Madigan and Cullerton are listening to the interests of low-wage employers and groups like the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, who have given them hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, and new Republican Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner, who met privately with the two legislators last week, instead of the Chicago citizens they were elected to represent.

“It’s outrageous that elected officials, who are supposed to be representing the interests of working families, are moving to lock hundreds of thousands of Chicago working families into poverty wages,” said Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative. “We insist that Chicago maintain its home rule status, so that we can decide for ourselves what our minimum wage should be.”

City residents are calling the offices, and knocking on doors in the representative districts, of Speaker Madigan and Senator Cullerton, and will continue to take action to make sure that Springfield legislators hear the voices of Chicago working families.

Grassroots Collaborative is Action Now, American Friends Service Committee – Great Lakes Region,Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Teachers Union, Enlace Chicago, Illinois Hunger Coalition, ONE Northside,  Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois Indiana