Thanks to everyone for your hard work over the past few weeks reaching out to our state legislators to encourage them to pass a minimum wage increase, one that doesn’t stop Chicago from passing it’s own minimum wage (through a maneuver called preemption). As you probably saw, the City of Chicago passed $13/hour minimum wage. Congratulations on making that happen, despite all the corporate lobbying against it! It will be instituted incrementally until 2019, and then the wage will increase based on cost of living increases (COLA). The state legislature did not undercut that vote. The Chicago vote was clear, and resounding. 44 votes for the increase, 5 votes against. “No” votes were cast by Aldermen Matt O’Shea (19th); Brendan Reilly (42nd); Michele Smith (43rd); Tom Tunney (44th) and Mary O’Connor (41st). Aldermen Tunney and Smith (Lakeview and Lincoln Park) need to hear from us about that no vote.
Sadly, the state legislature did not increase the minimum wage for the rest of the state, despite the fact that 66% of the voters in November demanded it. The Chicago City Council’s vote will make it politically hard for the legislature to take any action that lowers the wage in Chicago, but it is still possible.
Your calls were very important. Legislators heard us loud and clear that it is more expensive to live in Chicago, and we need a minimum wage that equals a living wage.
House Speaker Mike Madigan never called the bill so our Representatives never got a chance to vote, although many of them stood strong in support of raising the wage and against preemption. Standouts include Representatives Cassidy and Harris.
The Senate did end up voting to increase the wage. This is an imperfect bill because it does limit the Chicago wage to $13/hour (not allowing for future COLA increases), but it was an important action step. Senators Cullerton and Steans supported that bill. In the end, however, we need the House, Senate and Governor to make law in the state of Illinois, so veto session is adjourned without an increase to the state minimum wage.
We are pulling together a team of people who are interested in discussing worker rights and next steps on this minimum wage fight. If you would like to be part of this, the first meeting will be next Monday, December 8 from 6-7:30 pm, location tbd. If you are interested, reach out to Ellen.