Ward Room: Aldermen Back Referendum for $15 Minimum Wage
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Saying it’s “time to act”, a group of Chicago aldermen, along with advocacy groups, low-wage workers and community members, are backing a set of city referendums on the March 18 ballot calling for a higher minimum wage.
All eight members of the City Council’s Progressive Reform Coalition, along with Aldermen Joe Moreno (1), Will Burns (4) and Jason Ervin (28), are backing the measure. Last year, a coalition of advocacy groups worked to place a non-binding referendum on the March ballot to establish a minimum wage in Chicago.
The referendum asks if the city should require a minimum wage of $15 per hour for employees of companies with an annual gross revenues in excess of $50 million.
Together, the aldermen and advocates argue that a higher wage is needed for working families to survive on the kinds of minimum wage jobs that prevalent throughout the economy and are often the primary or only option for workers.
Currently, a full-time minimum wage worker in Chicago only earns $17,000 a year, while a majority of Chicago’s low-wage workers are over the age of 30 and over half live in households receiving all of their income from low-wage jobs, according to a 2012 report by the Women Employed and Action Now Institute.