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City Council today passed an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage for all Chicago workers to $13 per hour by 2019. This measure, sponsored by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Will Burns, Alderman Pat O’Connor and 31 other aldermen, will increase the earnings for approximately 410,000 Chicago workers, inject $860 million into the local economy, and lift 70,000 workers out of poverty.
“A higher minimum wage ensures that nobody who works in the City of Chicago will ever struggle to reach the middle class or be forced to raise their child in poverty,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Today, Chicago has shown that our City is behind a fair working wage.”
On December 1, Mayor Emanuel and a group of Aldermen introduced a substitute ordinance based off of Senator Kimberly Lightford’s bill that gets the City of Chicago to a $10 minimum wage in roughly seven months, an $11 minimum wage by 2017, and to a final minimum wage of $13 by 2019, plus inflation increases after 2019. This coordination will help ensure that increases happen at both the state and City levels without conflict, and it simplifies the early years of phase-in for businesses.
The ordinance also proposes that the tipped minimum wage in Chicago increase by $1 over two years from the current state minimum of $4.95 to $5.45 as of July 1, 2015 and $5.95 as of July 1, 2016, and be indexed to inflation every July 1 going forward.
“The residents of the City of Chicago deserve a raise and today, we have taken an important step to ensure that more than 400,000 workers have a chance to reach the middle class,” said Alderman O’Connor, Chairman of the City Council Committee on Workforce Redevelopment and Audit. “It is a good day for the City of Chicago and for its residents.”
“More than 400,000 Chicago workers will benefit from this increase in the local minimum wage,” said Alderman Burns, Co-Chairman of the Mayor’s Minimum Wage Working Group. “Raising the wage to $13 will have a positive impact on the entire City, but more importantly, it will help lift Chicago workers out of poverty and help them better provide for their children, who are the future of this City.”
On September 2, 2014, Mayor Emanuel took the first step toward an increased minimum wage citywide and signed an Executive Order requiring all City of Chicago contractors and subcontractors pay their employees a minimum of $13 per hour for work performed under a City contract. On September 30, Mayor Emanuel requested that all City of Chicago sister agencies join him in this effort. Already, four sister agencies have moved to a $13 minimum wage – and today’s vote will increase the minimum wage for everyone in Chicago starting next summer.
“This ordinance is a victory for the hundreds of thousands of hard-working people who will receive a raise and be better able to keep their families out of poverty. The boost to income also means that they will be able to buy goods and services in Chicago’s stores and restaurants and help propel the local economy,” John Bouman, President, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law said. “A higher wage in Chicago gives all workers in the city a better chance for upward mobility.”
Throughout his career, Mayor Emanuel has fought for working families to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at the middle class, helping to pass the last two federal minimum wage increases. As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 elections, then-Congressman Emanuel made a federal minimum wage increase part of the Democrats’ “100-hour Plan” of legislation to be enacted within the first 100 hours of a Democratic Congress. As Democratic Caucus Chairman in the 110th Congress, Mayor Emanuel worked with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 out of the House within the first week of the new Democratic majority. This bill increased the minimum wage by 40 percent, from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, the first increase in more than a decade.