The members of the Raise Chicago coalition have been organizing and fighting for years to establish a fair minimum wage in the city of Chicago. These efforts paid off when 87% of voters supported the ballot referendum for a $15 minimum wage in Chicago. A group of Chicago Aldermen listened to the voters and introduced an ordinance that would lift a huge number of workers out of poverty by creating a minimum wage of $15. While the Mayor’s Minimum Wage Working Group took a good first step by recommending a $13 minimum wage, it is still not what the people of Chicago want or need.
Action Now and other members of the Raise Chicago coalition held a press conference on June 9th, at the Chicago City Hall in response to the Mayor’s $13 wage recommendation. Action Now member Adeline Bracey stated the importance for a $15 minimum wage instead of $13 because “we are hurting now”. As enforced in the past public hearings, Chicagoans believe that anything less than $15 is an insult. Alderman Arena from 45th ward also spoke at the conference and said that “I support the Fight for Fifteen Movement because I looked at the numbers” which promises significant economic growth within Chicago. In addition to Ald. Arena, Ald. Irvin from the 28th ward also supports the opinions of the Raise Chicago Coalition and believes that “$13 is not enough, $15 is right”.
The minimum wage commission's proposed four year phase-in period for $13 means that the poorest workers will only see small increases that barely impact their ability to meet expenses. A $13 minimum wage in 2018 would only be 9 cents above the federal poverty line, which would keep Chicagoans entrenched in a cycle of violence and poverty. 
Their proposal also lets multi-million dollar corporations like McDonald's and Walmart, those who can well afford to pay their workers $15, off the hook. The commission's recommendation for a $1 raise for tipped workers is also unacceptable. According to the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget calculator, a family of one parent and one child will need to make at least $23.36 an hour to survive in 2018.
At one of the minimum wage commission's public hearings, Chicago resident Sherry West proclaimed “The crime is due to poverty. If you want to eliminate crime, you have to eliminate poverty.”
Sherry West’s statement about the connection between poverty and crime speaks to the recent 4th of July weekend when 82 people were shot and 14 people were killed in Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has refused to address this recent surge in violence destroying Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. The mayor’s lack of response to this crisis mirrors his disregard for the voice of voters who have demanded a $15 minimum wage.
ABC 7 Video of Action Now's Adeline Bracey speaking at the press conference:
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