Community Leaders Condemn Efforts to Block Chicago From Raising Minimum Wage

Neighborhood Residents to Protest Wednesday, November 19 outside of Office of Illinois Restaurant Association, 33 W. Monroe St., in Chicago, beginning at 10 a.m.

Community leaders are holding a press conference and protest outside of the offices of the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), in response to the news that IRA and other business lobbyists are pressuring state legislators in Springfield to deny the will of Chicago voters for a higher minimum wage by forcing Chicago to abide by state minimum wage legislation.

Illinois voters expressed strong support for increasing the state minimum wage to $10, voting in favor of the minimum wage advisory referendum by a 2 to 1 margin. In Chicago, where the cost of living is higher, a March 2014 city referendum for a $15 minimum wage garnered 86.3% support from voters. Urged on by IRA and other lobbyists, House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and others are considering including preemption of Chicago home rule in state minimum wage legislation, making it impossible for city legislators to enact a higher city minimum wage.

“The Illinois General Assembly must take action on the issues that working families care about, instead of just paying them lip service to get re-elected. Holding the state minimum wage increase hostage until officials approve the elimination of home rule is not just wrong, it is undemocratic,” said Katelyn Johnson, Executive Director of Action Now, member of the Raise Chicago Coalition.

VISUALS: Community residents chanting and holding signs, large 8 foot puppets, and banners.

WHO: Low wage workers, community leaders, and neighborhood residents.

Organizations taking part in the action include: Action Now, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Teachers Union,  Enlace Chicago, Grassroots Collaborative, ONE Northside,  Pilsen Alliance,  Fight for 15, Restaurant Opportunities Center Chicago, and others.