A group of aldermen has introduced a proposal to raise Chicago's minimum wage to $15. Led by Aldermen Proco "Joe" Moreno (1st), Roderick Sawyer (6th) and John Arena (45th), the elected officials seek to realign the miminum wage—currently $8.25 in the state of Illinois—with the rising costs of living in the city. The Chicago Tribune reports: "We should've been here years ago talking about this," said Ald. Sawyer at a press conference before a city council meeting. "During the time in which the miminum wage was instituted in Illinois, gas prices haved increased, food prices have increased, utilities have increased—everything has increased but the state's minimum wage. Had we done this sensibly years ago, we wouldn't be here." The proposal states that companies with an annual revenue of $50 million or more would be required to pay $12.50 an hour within 90 days of passage, and $15 an hour within a year. By contrast, small and medium-sized companies would have 15 months to begin to pay $12 an hour, with an annual increase of $1 per hour up until it reaches $15 an hour. After that, the mimium wage would rise in accordance with inflation. According to Ald. Ricardo Munoz, at least 12 of the 50 council members support the proposal. He expects more to join in the coming future.
Carlos Ballesteros is a freelance writer based in Chicago. He was born and raised in the South Side and recently graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in History.