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Workers, Activists Say Mayor’s Minimum Wage Plan Not Good Enough

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Activist Adeline Bracey and other minimum wage workers say the mayor's plan to raise the  Chicago minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2018 isn't enough. (Credit: Craig Dellimore/CBS)

Activist Adeline Bracey and other minimum wage workers say the mayor’s plan to raise the Chicago minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2018 isn’t enough. (Credit: Craig Dellimore/CBS)

dellimore250 Craig Dellimore
Craig Dellimore, political editor for WBBM, joined the station in 1983...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Minimum wage workers and community activists came to City Hall on Wednesday to say Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to gradually raise the city’s minimum wage to $13 per hour by 2018 is too little, too late.

WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the Raise Chicago Coalition, which has been pushing for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, said the mayor’s plan is a good start, but not enough.

Action Now leader Adeline Bracey said minimum wage workers deserve at least $15 an hour, and certainly can’t live on the current Illinois minimum wage of $8.25 per hour.

“I can’t survive on $8.25. My community cannot thrive on $8.25. We are barely alive making $8.25,” Bracey said. “In the words of the rapper, this ain’t no jive, it’s $8.25.”

WBBM 780’s Craig Dellimore

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Raise Chicago leader Amisha Patel said the group is still backing an ordinance, sponsored by at least 10 aldermen, to gradually raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Companies with more than $50 million in annual revenue would have 90 days from the date of passage to increase their minimum wage to $12.50 an hour, and a year to go up to $15 an hour. Smaller companies would have longer to comply – 15 months to go up to $12 an hour, two years to reach $13 an hour, three years to pay $14 an hour, and four years to match the $15 an hour minimum wage.

“Our ordinance actually talks about it being $15, and it also ramps up quicker for the largest corporations in the city of Chicago,” she said. “So the fact that the mayor’s commission’s recommendations do neither of those is a real problem, because the effect then on over 400,000 workers in the city of Chicago is that they have to wait four years to just get to the federal poverty line.”

Low wage worker O.J. McGee said people want a higher minimum wage.

“It’s a shame we’re still having this conversation in 2014,” he said.

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