CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of aldermen has introduced a proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, despite recent actions the mayor has taken on the issue.
Led by Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno (1st), Roderick Sawyer (6th), and John Arena (45th), the aldermen have crafted a measure that would gradually increase the minimum wage in Chicago to $15 an hour. Sponsors said large corporations would get two years to phase in the higher wage. Small and mid-sized businesses would have five years.
Moreno scoffed at those who might say the proposal is anti-business.
“Raising the minimum wage in the United States has never, ever hurt the broader economy. It’s only raised those at the lower, and that’s all we’re asking is to have a fair economy,” he said.
Home health service worker Darlene Pruitt said the $10 per hour she now makes isn’t enough.
“We’re not talking about luxury. We’re talking about food on the table, a roof over our heads, medicine for sick babies,” she said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed an 18-member task force to study whether and how high to raise Chicago’s minimum wage, and has supported President Barack Obama’s call for a federal minimum wage of $10.10 per hour.
Amisha Patel, head of the Grassroots Collaborative, said the group isn’t willing to wait for a study on the issue.
“We’ve been actually working on this for a year and a half. There is no reason to wait. We’re clear in terms of the work we’ve done in our neighborhoods, and our communities. The research backs why this is a good idea. It’s time for action. Chicago low-wage workers can’t afford to wait any longer,” she said.
She said it’s no longer a matter of voter support for increasing the minimum wage, but political will to do so.