Press Release
May 20, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Announces Working Group to Recommend Minimum Wage Increase that Benefits Workers and the Chicago Economy

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Emanuel today announced a Minimum Wage Working Group of community, labor and business leaders to develop a balanced plan to increase the minimum wage in Chicago. The Group is tasked with evaluating options for both short and long-term wage increases for Chicago’s workers to ensure every working Chicagoan has a shot at the middle class. A final report including recommended real wage increases for minimum wage employees and tipped employees is due to Mayor Emanuel in 45 days.

“This diverse group of labor, business and civic leaders will run an inclusive process to determine the right increase to the minimum wage that ensures every working Chicagoan earns a living that gives them a shot at the middle class," said Mayor Emanuel. "Chicagoans deserve a raise."

The group of business, labor, advocacy and elected leaders will develop a plan that ensures Chicago can move forward with a balanced proposal that gives a boost to all workers, small business owners and the City. The Mayor asked that the group study other wage increase plans pursued by other cities as well as solicit public input to create a balanced proposal that includes a real wage increase for all minimum wage employees in the short term; accounts for cost of living increases by tying future increases to inflation; and covers tipped employees.

The working group will be chaired by John Bourman, President, Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law, and Will Burns, Alderman of the 4th Ward. Members include:

  • Deborah Bennett, Senior Program Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation 
  • Matt Brandon, SEIU Local 73 
  • Carrie Austin, Alderman, Alderman of the 34th Ward and Chairman of the City Council Committee on the Budget and Government Operations
  • Walter Burnett, Alderman of the 27th Ward and Chairman of the City Council Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety
  • Sol Flores, Executive Director, La Casa Norte 
  • Theresa Mintle, CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce 
  • Emma Mitts, Alderman of the 37th Ward and Chairman of the City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection
  • Joe Moore, Alderman of the 49th Ward and Chairman of the City Council Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation
  • Ameya Pawar, Alderman of the 47th Ward 
  • Maria Pesqueira, Mujeres Latinas en Accion 
  • Ariel Reboyras, Alderman of the 30th Ward and Chairman of the City Council Committee on Human Relations
  • Bob Reiter, Secretary-Treasurer, Chicago Federation of Labor
  • JoAnn Thompson, Alderman of the 16th Ward 
  • Sam Toia, President, Illinois Restaurant Association 
  • Tanya Triche, Vice President and General Council, Illinois Retail Merchants Association 
  • Andrea Zopp, President and CEO, Chicago Urban League

As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 elections, then-Congressman Emanuel made a federal minimum wage increase part of the Democrats’ “100-hour Plan” of legislation to be enacted within the first 100 hours of a Democratic Congress. As Democratic Caucus Chairman in the 110th Congress, Mayor Emanuel worked with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 out of the House within the first week of the new Democratic majority. This bill increased the minimum wage by 40 percent, from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour, the first increase in more than a decade.

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