SEIU asks Chicago candidates to back $25 minimum wage, other issues – Crain’s Chicago Business

The minimum wage issue is one of about two dozen matters raised in the SEIU Regional Council’s candidate questionnaire, along with matters such as whether sports stadia and convention centers should have to reach labor-peace agreements if they get city funds, whether the city ought to restore health insurance for retirees, and whether charter schools need tighter regulation.

“Research has found that increasing Chicago’s minimum wage would not only help many low wage workers but would also help the city’s economy,” it reads. “Would you support a $25/hour minimum wage to bring more money into the working-class economy and grow the tax base?”

Council President Greg Kelley said the council already has started getting responses from candidates. “No one has said no.”  Kelly declined to say if a “yes” came from Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, who has already been endorsed by two SEIU locals. Johnson’s spokeswoman failed to return calls seeking comment.

“We’re the union that started the move for a $15 minimum wage, and that was 10 years ago,” Kelley said in a phone interview. “Just a few days ago, Nebraska, of all places, approved a $15 minimum wage in a referendum. . . .We obviously don’t expect to move to $15 tomorrow. But we do think it’s time that Chicago move farther than it has.”

Kelley said he suspects employers who now are having trouble filling vacancies would do better if their pay was more competitive. But that notion was rejected by one industry official, Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia.

“The hospitality industry is still coming out of the COVID pandemic,” Toia said. “Even in good times, 95 cents of every dollar of income goes out the door for costs. Now is not the time to add any more burdens to our industry.”

Chicago’s minimum wage is now $15.40 an hour. It will rise automatically with inflation, but is not expected to get close to $25 for many years.

SEIU also asked candidates if they believe everyone in Chicago should have “guaranteed access to qualify, affordable health care,” if they support sending social workers rather than police to handle some domestic incidents, and if charter schools should have the same admission standards as regular public schools.

Kelley said the questionnaire was developed in consultation with its locals. 


via “Illinois Politics” – Google News

November 21, 2022 at 08:55PM

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