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by Michael Sandler
11:07am
Fri Jul 12, 2013

Wage Against the Machine: Chicagoans Demand Minimum Wage Increase

On Thursday afternoon, a group of protesters converged outside of the James R. Thompson Center to continue the call for a raise of Illinois’ minimum wage.

At the rally, speakers from policy groups including Stand Up! Chicago, Action Now, and the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability urged state lawmakers and business owners to work together to increase the minimum wage from $8.25 per hour. Illinois’ rate is the fourth-highest in the nation, behind Vermont, Oregon and Washington. Gov. Pat Quinn supports an increase to the minimum wage, calling for 20 percent increase to the wage during his State of the State address in February. Meanwhile, a bill proposed back in 2011 (SB 1565) has yet to be voted on.

The ralliers argued that cost of living increases since the last time Illinois raised its minimum wage — which was phased in from 2006 to 2010 — need to be accounted for. Elizabeth Parisian, policy director for Stand Up! Chicago, said a two-parent, two-child family would have to earn just over $69,000 annually to make ends meet, and a one-parent, one-child household would have to earn just under $49,000 to sustain themselves in the current economy. Parisian said Stand Up! Chicago is asking the state to increase the minimum wage to $10.60 per hour.

“Low wage and minimum wage workers need a raise. And so any effort to bump their pay is good for the economy,” said Parisian, who also argued that workers will spend more if their income levels rise.

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