City of Chicago Votes To Raise Minimum Wage

| by Edward Arnold

The Chicago City Council approved an ordinance calling for a raise in the minimum wage over the next five years.

The ordinance calls for the minimum wage to rise from $8.25 to $10 an hour starting next year, followed by increases to $10.50 in 2016, $11 in 2017, $12 in 2018, and $13 an hour in 2019. Forty-four city council members voted for the ordinance, with only five voting against it.

The city of Chicago is home to approximately 400,000 minimum wage workers.

The Raise Chicago Coalition, which had fought for the wage boost, called the vote "a major victory."

The passage of this increase will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of low wage workers and their families," said Ann Marie Cunningham of Jane Addams Senior Caucus, part of the Raise Chicago group. "It will have a tangible benefit for our communities, local economies and small businesses."

Yet the move does not come without opposition. Business groups, including the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Restaurant Association, say the ordinance will cost thousands of low wage jobs throughout Illinois.

Others cities have taken action on this issue as well. According to USA Today, San Francisco, Santa Fe, San Jose and Washington, D.C., have all raised their wages this year. Others debating on raising their minimum wage are New York, San Diego and Portland. The mayor of Seattle has developed a plan for a $15 minimum wage, according to the Huffington Post.

With a minimum wage movement developing in multiple cities and states, the minimum wage debate should heat up on a national scale soon.

Source: Huffington Post / Photo Credit: Progressive Illinois