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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today called upon the City of Chicago’s sister agencies, including the Public Building Commission, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago City Colleges, and Chicago Parks District, to require all contractors and subcontractors pay employees a minimum wage of $13 per hour. On September 2, Mayor Emanuel took the first step toward an increased minimum wage citywide and signed an Executive Order requiring all City of Chicago contractors and subcontractors pay their employees a minimum of $13 per hour for work performed under a City contract. Today, Mayor Emanuel is requesting that all City of Chicago sister agencies join him in this effort.
“A higher minimum wage ensures that nobody who is contracted to do work with any arm of the City of Chicago will ever have to raise their children in poverty,” Mayor Emanuel said. “At this time, I am asking our sister agencies to take the next step in demonstrating the City’s commitment to this citywide goal and putting the City of Chicago’s full purchasing power behind a fair working wage.”
Approximately 2,400 employees will benefit from the sister agencies implementing this standard for their contractors. These workers are typically employed as bus drivers and aides, custodial crews, and landscaping and maintenance workers. These contracted employees will be in addition to the approximately 1,000 workers impacted by the Executive Order signed by Mayor Emanuel on September 2, effective for all advertised procurement opportunities beginning October 1, 2014. The hourly wage will be indexed to inflation and increase proportionally on a yearly basis thereafter.
“Having all City of Chicago sister agencies commit to this important goal will reinforce that all contracted businesses should be held to the same high standards that we already hold for Chicago’s business community," said Alderman Will Burns (4th Ward), Co-Chair of the Minimum Wage Working Group. “This effort represents another step towards our goal of a $13 minimum wage for Chicago workers, which will boost the incomes for more than 400,000 workers and lift 80,000 residents out of poverty."
"This important action by the City of Chicago sister agencies represents the next step in implementing the Minimum Wage Working Group's recommendation," said John Bouman, President, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and Co-Chair of the Minimum Wage Working Group. "It maintains important momentum as we move toward not just a $13 minimum wage for all workers in Chicago, but an adequate minimum wage for working people throughout the entire state. A strong minimum wage is essential for hard-working families to embark on a path out of poverty and stimulates the economy locally and throughout the state."
On July 30, Mayor Emanuel and 24 City Council members introduced an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage for all Chicago workers to $13 per hour by 2018. This proposal will increase the earnings for approximately 410,000 Chicago workers and inject nearly $800 million into the local economy over the next four years.
Throughout his career, Mayor Emanuel has fought for working families to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at the middle class, helping to pass the last two federal minimum wage increases. 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 per hour, the first increase in more than a decade.