Community Response To Chicago Mayor’s Minimum Wage Ordinance: Voters Want $15 Now!

Contact: Aileen Kelleher (312) 351-0395

For immediate release

Media Alert

Community Response To Mayor’s Minimum Wage Ordinance: Voters Want $15 Now!


Action Now, a community organization and founding member of the Raise Chicago campaign, has issued the following statement:

Mayor Emanuel’s introduction of an ordinance to raise the Chicago minimum wage to $13 by 2018 shows his commitment to top-down decision-making and a disregard for what voters want. There is already an ordinance for $15 that has the support of 21 Aldermen. In March 2014, 86% of voters supported a $15 minimum wage. When the people of Chicago came out for the public hearings of the Minimum Wage Working Group, nearly every speaker called for a $15 minimum wage. We have had 1,500 voters sign a petition calling for a $15 minimum wage. A $15 minimum wage is a clear mandate from the people of Chicago and the Mayor’s ordinance that doesn’t even take effect until June 1st, 2018 sells out hardworking Chicagoans who can’t afford to wait!


The difference between the Mayor’s ordinance and the ordinance for a $15 minimum wage:

  • ·         The $15 ordinance covers all workers, while Emanuel’s ordinance completely leaves out huge swaths of the workforce. Domestic workers are completely left out and tipped workers are only given a $1 increase.
  • ·         The Mayor’s proposal has no separate phase-in for large corporations and small businesses. The mayor's commission lets multi-million dollar corporations like McDonald's and Walmart, those who can well afford to pay their workers $15 now, off the hook.
  • ·         The proposed four year phase-in period for $13 means that the poorest workers will only see small increases that barely impact their ability to meet expenses. A $13 minimum wage in 2018 would only be 9 cents above the federal poverty line, which would keep Chicagoans entrenched in a cycle of violence and poverty.

The Mayor should work to get the current ordinance for $15 passed instead of undercutting voters by introducing a watered down ordinance that clearly benefits big corporations at the expense of workers and small businesses, which has been the hallmark of his administration. His decision to meet with business owners the day before introducing his ordinance, as opposed to workers or voters, shows his commitment to business is stronger than his commitment to voters.


If the City Council passes anything less than $15, they are selling out voters and revealing that Aldermen work for the mayor, and not for their constituents.  The people are tired of the mayor throwing bones and telling the working families of Chicago to eat cake. Voters are ready to rise up and are take back their city to make sure their voices are heard and backed by legislative action.


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