An ordinance brought before the Chicago City Council to raise the minimum wage to $13 an hour was overwhelmingly approved Tuesday by a vote of 44-5.
Currently, the minimum wage in Chicago is $8.25, and under the new ordinance this will rise to $10 an hour by next July and continue to rise by fifty cents every year until 2019.
The ordinance cites the rising levels of inflation for the need to raise the minimum wage. Specifically, the ordinance says, “rising inflation has outpaced the growth in the minimum wage, leaving the true value of lllinois’ current minimum wage of $8.25 per hour 32 percent below the 1968 level of $10.71 per hour (in 2013 dollars).”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, according to the Chicago Tribune, the minimum wage increase is “part of an economic strategy to make sure that work pays … and not only that work pays — simple — but no parent that works should raise a child in poverty.”
While some groups such as the Raise Chicago Coalition applauded the raising of the wage, others said the approval of the ordinance is a mistake.
Tom Tunney, a restaurant owner in Chicago, said, according to the Huffington Post, “How do you go from $8.25 [an hour] to $13 overnight? You know what you do? You raise the prices and you’ve also got to find ways to do it with less help. That’s what’s going to happen.”
Alderman Bob Fioretti, however, said the ordinance does not go far enough and the minimum wage could be raised to $15 an hour. “While I’m proud to support today’s increase in the minimum wage, we can’t stop fighting now,” said Fioretti. “The chant in the streets here and nationwide has been ‘show me $15,’ not ‘show me $13 by 2019.'”