“Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would promote economic stability among Chicago workers, economic vitality in their neighborhoods and economic growth throughout this city,” said Connie Razza, director of strategic research at the center, which works both locally and nationally to build “the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda.”
The new report comes ahead of Wednesday’s Chicago City Council meeting, during which aldermen with the Progressive Reform Caucus plan to introduce an ordinance for a citywide hourly minimum wage of $15 an hour. The ordinance was developed with members of Raise Chicago, a coalition of community and labor groups advocating for a higher hourly wage floor in the city. Chicago’s current minimum wage is $8.25 an hour, the same as the base hourly wage in Illinois and $1 more than the federal level.
One day before the annual McDonald’s shareholder meeting took place in Oak Brook Thursday, hundreds of minimum wage workers and their supporters descended upon the fast food company’s corporate headquarters to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union.
After protesters entered the McDonald’s campus at Jorie Boulevard and Kroc Drive and staged a sit-in, 138 demonstrators were arrested and charged with an ordinance violation of criminal trespass to property, according to the Oak Brook Police Department.
“We need $15 an hour and a union to support our families,” said Jessica Davis, 25, moments before she was arrested Wednesday afternoon. Davis, a single mother with two children, ages 4 and 9 months, has worked at a McDonald’s restaurant on Chicago’s West Side for more than four years.
Chicago fast food workers hit the picket lines Thursday as part of a massive, worldwide day of strikes for higher wages and the right to form a union without retaliation. Progress Illinois provides a snapshot of some of the day's protests.
Illinois could soon become the fifth U.S. state to “ban the box” that inquires about criminal history on initial applications for most private sector jobs.
The state House recently voted 63-53 to approve the “Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act,” which would require private employers or employment agencies in Illinois with 15 or more employees to evaluate an applicant’s skills and qualifications before asking about criminal history. Under the measure, sponsored by State Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan), employers would be allowed to conduct background checks and request conviction information from applicants, but not until later in the interviewing process.
Illinois women make 78 cents for every dollar that a man earns, which is an especially disheartening statistic on Equal Pay Day.
“If someone does the same work, they should earn the same pay,” said Gov. Pat Quinn, who observed Equal Pay Day with fellow lawmakers Tuesday. “Yet here we are in 2014 — 51 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act — and women on average still don’t earn as much as their male counterparts in the workplace. We won’t be satisfied until all workers are equally compensated for the same work, regardless of their gender. When women succeed, our economy grows.”
In Illinois, female workers who feel their lower wages are attributed to gender-based pay discrimination can seek assistance at the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL), which is tasked with enforcing the Illinois Equal Pay Act. Female workers across the state have been successful in getting the money due to them, according to the agency.