In the months of August and September Action Now held rallies at the offices of Aldermen that refused to sign-on to the Raise Chicago $15 minimum wage ordinance. This resulted in one of the Aldermen changing their stance and
publicly supporting the ordinance!
Alderman Will Burns
First, Raise Chicago held a protest led by Action Now and Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) at the office of Alderman Will Burns who refused to sign on to our $15 minimum wage ordinance despite the fact that 92.6% of voters support it.
After protesting outside of Alderman Burns’ office, leaders from Action Now, KOCO, Jane Addams Senior Caucus spoke out in front of Burns’ office about how many of our elected officials are working against the people that voted them into office!
“We are done with these do-nothing politicians who let the mayor set up back room deals that help his big business friends at the expense of Chicago’s communities. Aldermen like Will Burns just stand by while the mayor’s anti-worker and anti-education policies destroy our neighborhoods,” said Adeline Bracey, an Action Now leader.
Dennis Sanders, a resident of the 4th Ward and member of KOCO stated, “Alderman Will Burns has repeatedly gone against what the community has asked him to do in order to serve the interests of Mayor Emanuel. He has demonstrated he is not in public office to serve the people but only to serve himself.”
Video of some TV news coverage of the event:
Our protest was covered by ABC, NBC, Telemundo, Chicago Defender, and more!
Aldermen James Cappleman and Patrick O’Connor
On September 18th, 2014 leaders from the Raise Chicago coalition held a bus tour that traveled to the offices of Alderman James Cappleman of 46th Ward and Alderman Patrick O’Connor of 40th Ward, as well as notorious low-wage employer McDonald’s.
Alderman James Cappleman came out to a Raise Chicago press conference in March but did not sign on to our ordinance when it was introduced in City Council. When he heard we were planning a rally at his office, he wrote a letter publicly proclaiming his support of the $15 ordinance. This is a victory for the Raise Chicago coalition! It shows that community organizing is effective and that ordinary people have the power to challenge the influence of corporations when they unite and hold elected officials accountable.
After visiting Cappleman’s office and thanking him for his support, we headed to a rally at McDonald’s, a corporation with billions in profits that refuse to pay their workers a living wage. McDonald’s along with other low wage employers have donated thousands of dollars to the re-election campaigns of both Alderman Cappleman and Alderman Patrick O’Connor.
Once we arrived a McDonald’s location in Uptown we marched, chanted and listened to workers speak out. McDonald’s workers Tyree Johnson stated, “I was arrested last week in an act of civil disobedience in front of a McDonald's in Chicago because I am willing to do whatever it takes to win a $15 minimum wage. Aldermen need to stand with the people and workers who voted them into office."
The last stop on the tour was the office of 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor. O’Connor is the chair of the Workforce Development Committee, which is where our $15 ordinance is currently being stalled. He has not signed on to our ordinance or called it for a hearing in his committee. 86% of voters in Chicago support a $15 minimum wage yet he won’t let the City Council vote on an ordinance that would establish that wage in Chicago. His refusal to act is an obstruction of democracy and is blocking legislation that working families want and desperately need.
A resident of the 40th Ward and member of Jane Addams Senior Caucus gave a speech in front of O’Connor’s office and then delivered a letter demanding that he call a hearing on our ordinance!
The bus tour was covered in the media by the Chicago Tribune, Red Eye, WGN, Telemundo and Progress Illinois.