Neighborhood Residents Laud City Minimum Wage Increase, Call on Mayor Emanuel to Do Better for Chicago Working Families

Grassroots Illinois Action will Continue to Fight for $15 Minimum Wage and Real Investment in Chicago Neighborhoods

CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—December 2, 2014. Grassroots Illinois Action celebrates with the hundreds of thousands of Chicago’s working families who will be receiving a raise next June.

Restaurant, retail and business groups, along with large corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s, fought hard against this minimum wage increase, and gave aldermen and the mayor over $200,000 in campaign contributions in the last few years. But this time, the power of money wasn’t enough to beat the power of people.

As a response to the bold fight waged by Chicago’s low wage workers and their allies, the Chicago City Council took action today, passing an ordinance raising the city’s minimum wage to $10 beginning June  2015 and going up to $13 in 2019.   In response to community pressure, the original proposal was significantly changed to include Domestic Workers, an important victory for thousands of families. For the Chicago families who will finally get a raise, this is undeniably a step forward.

However, Chicagoans also know that an increase to $13 over 5 years is not enough.  Last March, 86% of voters showed overwhelming support for a $15 minimum wage in Chicago.  In the spring and summer, Chicago residents turned out to all of the Minimum Wage Commission’s hearings, demanding $15.  The Council’s ordinance also leaves tipped workers behind, to continue to struggle with poverty wages.   Chicago can do better.  We will continue to organize and fight for a living wage for all Chicagoans.

“Today, we celebrate with everyone who fought hard for this victory.  In the past 7 days, the Mayor has shown us what is possible when he has the political will to make things happen.  He could have given Chicago a raise years ago.  Chicago families need progress every year, not just during election year,” said Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Illinois Action.  

Grassroots Illinois Action applauds those Aldermen who weren’t afraid to stand against the mayor, serve as real champions for a $15 minimum wage, and negotiate for a real living wage for Chicago.  The lead sponsors for $15 – Alderman Joe Moreno (1st), Alderman Rod Sawyer (6th), and Alderman John Arena (45th)- showed the type of independent leadership that Chicago needs and deserves.  

“Chicago needs independent leaders who have the courage to make the hard decisions – on behalf of working families, not corporate giants,” said Abbie Illenberger, Field Director of Grassroots Illinois Action.   “We will continue organizing with Chicago’s working families to see that same political will in action on other issues that matter to Chicago’s working families – issues like reinstating an Elected Representative School Board, opening up CHA vacant housing, and ending the criminalization of communities of color.”

Source: grassrootsillinoisaction.org