The Chicago City Council on Tuesday is expected to vote on a proposal by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to raise the minimum wage in the nation’s third-largest city to $13 an hour over four years.
Emanuel’s measure to boost the minimum wage from the current $8.25 an hour follows similar actions by other cities, including Seattle and San Francisco.
The mayor felt the need to move on a minimum wage proposal now to get ahead of possible action by state lawmakers, who could vote to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. A state law could prevent cities from passing higher wage increases.
Emanuel’s support of a minimum wage hike could help him counter challengers in the February election, who claim that he favors business interests over working people.
The proposal would affect about 410,000 city workers in the city and add $800 million to the Chicago economy, according to a mayoral panel appointed to study the issue.
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce hike has opposed the increase, saying the state already has a higher minimum wage than that of neighboring states, but has lagged in the economic recovery.
A group of Chicago aldermen, including mayoral challenger Bob Fioretti, had offered a rival proposal that would raise the wage to $15 an hour, which would match the level approved in Seattle in June. But the council’s workforce development committee on Monday evening recommended Emanuel’s smaller increase.
Several states have approved increases in minimum wages this year, including Michigan and Minnesota.
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)