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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today signed an Executive Order requiring City contractors and subcontractors to pay employees a minimum wage of $13 per hour for contracts advertised after October 1, 2014. The hourly wage will be indexed to inflation and increase proportionally on a yearly basis thereafter.
“A higher minimum wage is essential to putting a financial floor beneath our hard-working families,” Mayor Emanuel said. “With this Executive action, we’ll help ensure that nobody who is contracted to do work with the City of Chicago will ever have to raise their children in poverty.”
The Executive Order is the first step taken by the City to ensure that all employees contracted with the City of Chicago are provided with sufficient wages for a shot at the middle class. It applies to all service contracts, including construction contracts, advertised after October 1, 2014.
“We made the decision long ago to pay our employees a decent wage that enables them to support their families,” said Deborah Sawyer, President and CEO, Environmental Design International. “Raising the minimum wage is not only good for my employees, but helps reduce worker turnover and improves workplace morale – which helps my bottom line as a small business owner.”
Approximately 1,000 contracted employees will benefit from this Executive Order. These workers are typically employed as landscapers, maintenance workers, security officers, concessionaires, and in custodial services.
“The City can lead by example by ensuring that our contractors are paying a higher minimum wage to employees that work on City projects," said Alderman Will Burns (4th Ward), Co-Chair of the Minimum Wage Working Group, “This order represents another step towards our goal of a $13 minimum wage for Chicago workers, which will boost the incomes for 400,000 workers and lift 80,000 residents out of poverty."
"This executive order represents a critical first step towards 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 provides important movement toward resounding voter approval of the ballot measure in November for an adequate minimum wage for working people throughout the state and then for approval of the $13 minimum wage for all workers in Chicago. A strong minimum wage makes work a path out of poverty and stimulates the economy here and throughout the state."
Today’s signing builds on efforts undertaken by Mayor Emanuel to raise the minimum wage for all Chicago workers to $13 per hour by 2018. On July 30, 2014, Mayor Emanuel, Alderman Will Burns, and 23 other Alderman introduced an ordinance into City Council that would raise wages for approximately 410,000 workers, nearly 31 percent of the Chicago workforce, and add $800 million to the local Chicago economy over four years.
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 an hour, the first increase in more than a decade.