Chicago set to increase its minimum wage to $13 an hour

City Council votes to increase wage over five-year period

Published December 2, 2014 7:47PM (EST)

Rahm Emanuel
Rahm Emanuel

The Chicago City Council voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to approve Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to raise the city's minimum wage to $13 an hour by mid-2019.

The council approved the raise by a vote of 44 to 5, against the objections of industry groups like the Illinois Restaurant Association, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, the Chicago Tribune reports.

In July, the city's minimum will increase to an hourly rate of $10 from the statewide minimum of $8.25 an hour. It will increase by 50 cents in July 2016 and another 50 cents in July 2017 before increasing by $1 in July 2018 and another dollar in July 2019.

Emanuel, who has been dubbed "Mayor 1%" for his close ties to corporations and the financial industry, pushed for the increase ahead of his 2015 re-election bid. An August poll found that Emanuel's approval rating stands at just 35 percent; among African Americans, who were hard hit by the Emanuel administration's mass closings of neighborhood schools, viewed the mayor even less favorably, with just 26 percent approving of his job performance.

While many advocates cheered the passage of the mayor's minimum wage plan, some progressives championed a larger increase. Alderman Bob Fioretti and Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia, who are both mounting mayoral challenges to Emanuel, supported raising the minimum to $15 an hour, the Tribune notes.

Meanwhile, Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner -- a close Emanuel friend -- sounded a cautionary note about raising the minimum ahead of Tuesday's vote.

“My recommendation to the mayor is that he keeps in mind the competitiveness for the city of Chicago. We do not want to increase unemployment in the city of Chicago and end up hurting many of the families we all want to help," Rauner said.

"Let's make Chicago more competitive, let's help reduce the regulatory burden on businesses in Chicago, let's do workers' comp reform, tort reform and a tax reduction on businesses in Chicago, and raise the minimum wage as part of that," the billionaire investor added.

Rauner previously supported reducing Illinois' minimum wage by $1 per hour.

By Luke Brinker

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Bob Fioretti Bruce Rauner Chicago Economics Illinois Jesus Garcia Minimum Wage Rahm Emanuel