Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called on city sister agencies, including the Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Transit Authority and city colleges, to require that contractors and subcontractors pay all employees a minimum wage of $13 an hour.
This follows the mayor's signing of an Executive Order last month that requires all city of Chicago contractors and subcontractors pay their employees an hourly minimum wage of $13 for work done under a city contract. Some 1,000 workers will be impacted by the Executive Order, which is "effective for all advertised procurement opportunities beginning October 1, 2014." The wage will be indexed to inflation and increased each year.
“A higher minimum wage ensures that nobody who is contracted to do work with any arm of the City of Chicago will ever have to raise their children in poverty,” Emanuel said in a release announcing his request for city sister agencies. “At this time, I am asking our sister agencies to take the next step in demonstrating the City’s commitment to this citywide goal and putting the City of Chicago’s full purchasing power behind a fair working wage.”
Some 2,400 workers would be affected by the requirement if the city's sister agencies were to make the change over to a $13 an hour minimum wage. The workers that would be affected by such a change would include bus drivers and aides, landscaping and maintenance workers, and custodial crews.
“Having all City of Chicago sister agencies commit to this important goal will reinforce that all contracted businesses should be held to the same high standards that we already hold for Chicago’s business community," said Alderman Will Burns (4th Ward), an Emanuel ally and co-chair of the city's Minimum Wage Working Group. “This effort represents another step towards our goal of a $13 minimum wage for Chicago workers, which will boost the incomes for more than 400,000 workers and lift 80,000 residents out of poverty."
The $13 minimum wage figure comes from a recommendation made by the Minimum Wage Working Group back in July. Emanuel created a task force of aldermen, labor and business representatives in May, asking them to investigate the issue of and gather public comment about increasing the city's minimum wage.