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Protesters Call For Increasing Minimum Wage

CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly 150 people picketed outside a Little Village car wash, a Chatham Walmart and a Streeterville restaurant, demanding an increase in the minimum wage.

Protesters Call For Increasing Minimum Wage

Organizers protested on the fourth anniversary of the latest increase in the federal minimum wage as part of a nationwide effort to lobby Congress to authorize an increase. They said they picked the three businesses because they have resisted efforts to increase wages.

Illinois is already $1 an hour above the federal minimum wage, at a state minimum of $8.25/hour. But protester Shani Smith said it is not enough.

“Had minimum wage caught up with inflation, we would actually see our minimum wage workers working for at least $10.71 an hour,” she said.

The figure goes even higher if employers provide workers with full health benefits.

Gov. Pat Quinn, in his February State of the State address, proposed an increase to $10/hour to be phased in over four years. Business interests have lobbied in Springfield for a reduction in the minimum wage to the federally-mandated $7.25/hour.

Smith said the need for an increase is immediate, but said protesters realize that making any change up or down will take a protracted fight.

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