Today, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce (Chamber), Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association (IHLA), Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), and Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) will testify at a committee hearing in Chicago’s City Council on the chaos that will result should lawmakers enact varying minimum wages across multiple jurisdictions.
The Chicago City Council will vote this week on hiking the minimum wage to $13 hour, a 57 percent increase from Illinois’ current minimum wage of $8.25.
The coalition is represented by Chamber President and CEO Theresa E. Mintle, IHLA President Marc Gordon, IRA President & CEO Sam Toia and IRMA President Rob Karr. The IHLA and IRA support a reasonable and uniform increase to the minimum wage. All associations strongly oppose varying minimum wages across multiple jurisdictions. They released a joint warning testifying to the effects a Chicago minimum wage will have on both employers and workers, particularly those near borders with minimum wage inconsistencies:
“Mayor Emanuel’s unilateral decision to move ahead with City Council action to raise the minimum wage this week virtually eliminates the possibility for a uniform, fair statewide increase that puts workers, businesses and communities all on a level playing field.”
“This decision is about politics and is in fact counter to his own task force's recommendation dated July 8, 2014:
‘Furthermore, the Working Group recommends that the Mayor and City Council not pass an ordinance that implements its recommendation until the Illinois General Assembly has had the opportunity to raise the statewide minimum wage during the next veto session at the end of 2014.’ [Mayor's Minimum Wage Working Group].
“Make no mistake, this will cost thousands of low wage jobs throughout Illinois as businesses flee. Further, it puts at severe risk the small businesses in border communities throughout Chicago that neighbor the suburbs and Indiana. Such an increase will permanently depress new business development and hiring.”
With action from Springfield yet to be taken on this issue, the group is calling on lawmakers in the state’s capitol to act immediately to provide fairness, consistency and certainty on minimum wage throughout Illinois.