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Poll: 84 percent of Chicagoans want minimum wage hiked to $13 an hour

Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

* Results from the latest Tribune poll

* Trib coverage

There are no plans for aldermen to consider Emanuel’s proposal until after the Nov. 4 election, when voters across Illinois will be asked if they back a minimum wage of $10 an hour.

Democrats hope that advisory referendum will boost turnout in a year when U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn are running for re-election and campaigning against income inequality. If Chicago raised its minimum wage to $13 an hour before the statewide election, some of the air could be taken out of the issue in the heavily Democratic city.

Conversely, if the General Assembly ends up raising Illinois’ minimum wage to $10 an hour, that could relieve some of the pressure on the City Council to take Chicago’s rate even higher. Emanuel won’t say whether he’ll keep pushing for a $13-an-hour city minimum wage in that situation.

It’s just politics, of course, and something I’ve discussed with subscribers, but man is that ever an incredibly cynical ploy to postpone the city council vote.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Apocalypse Now - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    What is so magical about $13? Why not $13.50, $16 or $18.75. Good wonder about a bunch of elected officials who can run a city thinking they actually no what the best wage is for workers in the private sector. Goofballs!

  2. - PoolGuy - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    on the other side of same argument, why not lower it to $6.50, $5.00 or $3.50 an hour. let the private sector let workers live in utter squalor and be even more dependent on food stamps, public housing, and medicaid.

    the private sector knows what is the best wage for its workers, right?

  3. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    ===but man is that ever an incredibly cynical ploy to postpone the city council vote.===

    True, but I suspect most Alderman want the voters to have no doubt who voted for the minimum wage increase come next February. If the Council voted for this before November, the Aldermen might not get the proper credit.

  4. - in absentia - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    …and a hush fell over the Union League Club….

  5. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:05 pm:

    I don’t get how advisory questions are supposed to drive turnout. Is there some example of that working?

  6. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    ===Is there some example of that working?===

    The anti-gay marriage amendments in 11 states in 2004 weren’t advisory, and may or may not have helped George Bush, but they didn’t hurt him any either.

  7. - Mokenavince - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    What amazes me is the richer some people become, the more they are against a higher wage minimum.
    I guess adding 40 cents too a McDonald’s would kill them.

  8. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    Word -

    In my home county, the local Republican Central Committee pushed a non-binding referendum to move county board meetings from noon on a Tuesday to a weeknight. The county GOP controlled maybe 20-25% of the seats on the board. It garnered plenty of support from R’s and D’s and eventually led to the board moving its meetings. Granted, that is a different example that was confined in one county, but if the goal is to stir up anger in Cook County then I would say it might work.

  9. - southwest - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    I don’t think higher prices would stop rich people from going to MacDonald’s, but it will stop us from going. We spent almost $35.00 for a family of 4 the other week. Outrageous

  10. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    It is not the 40 cents an hour that kills the owner of McDonalds. He is a millionaire. It is now the people who work at McDonald’s cant afford to eat there. It is also the fact that it makes it too expensive compared to just eating at home.

    Name me one owner who can survive if the government forces him to pay 30% over his competitor. None. In many small towns on the border of IL, that is exactly what that does.

    All increasing minimum wage does is increase inflation and pander to people who are not educated enough to know that.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    I would suspect someone would start running the “adamantly adamantly against” Ad to frame Rauner.

    Rauner saying what he said, and trying to explain it away is a good tactic too, in conjunction with the ballot initiative.

    Got to gin it up somehow.

  12. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    Are some of you seriously going down the absolutely ridiculous road that an increase in the minimum wage is going to drive up prices at McDonald’s so drastically that people won’t be able to afford to eat there? Are you actually saying that with a straight face?

  13. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 3:07 pm:


    It’s not that the increase will raise McDonald’s too high to be affordable. It’s the “death of a thousand cuts” that everyone using lower cost labor will be raising their prices and starting the cycle all over again. BTW, $13 in Chicago seems reasonable, the Loop lunch crowd can afford it. The family farmer in Gibson City who has to pay his teenage detasselers $13, not so much when corn is descending towards $3 a bushel.

  14. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 3:12 pm:

    == I don’t get how advisory questions are supposed to drive turnout. ==

    This may help provide some background on the track record and their thinking

  15. - Bogey Golfer - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 3:36 pm:

    If these are part-time workers, you can be sure the franchisee will monitor customer volume and reduce staff as soon as volume drops. Working lunchtime shift from 11-3 will be 11-2. So what was 4 hours x $8.50 will be 3 x $13.00. A staff of 6 working evenings will now be 4 or 5.

  16. - Steve - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 3:40 pm:

    It’s kind of creepy to think so many voters don’t understand economics. The demand for labor is a downward sloping curve . Voters think they can legislate wages without any ill side effects. Watch the video down below. Computers are forcing entry level wages down: because they can. I doubt too many fast food workers will be competing with an Ipad at $13 an hour.

  17. - walker - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 3:48 pm:

    John and others: ==why stop at $13?== — My understanding is that this would make it about equal in terms of buying power, to when it was previously set, by adjusting for inflation. Over the long term, it would bring it back to where it once was, not increase it in real terms. That is why we can rely on past economic performance to estimate what the real impact might be.

    Note: I didn’t check those numbers myself.

    The “why not $26/hr?” is kind of a red herring in that context.

    With respect.

  18. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    == A staff of 6 working evenings will now be 4 or 5. ==

    With the way certain jobs are rapidly being automated within the industry, it may soon be just 1 or 2.

    The National Restaurant show at McCormick place showed off some very advanced and affordable; technology earlier this year. And the first restaurant in Asia apparently went fully-automated last week. It is not pleasant to think of.

  19. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    –The family farmer in Gibson City who has to pay his teenage detasselers $13, not so much when corn is descending towards $3 a bushel.–

    Cry me a river about government intervention in the marketplace and corn prices. For crying out loud, that takes some chutzpah.

    If federal crop insurance, ethanol mandates and sugar import restrictions ain’t enough for you, what’s next? Do we all gotta start using the cobs like the old days? Ouch.

    I never made minimum wage detaselling corn. DeKalb Ag didn’t have to pay it then, and I doubt any outfit does now. There are plenty of exceptions to the minimum wage.

    Wasn’t a whole lot of “regulation” or supervision of those 13 and 14 year olds out in those fields either, believe you me, so don’t worry about that, either.

    Besides, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of detaselling going on in Chicago city limits.


  20. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    Steve, FKA, you really think advances in technology can be held off by getting rid of the minimum wage? What makes you think that at all — advanced economically speaking, of course.

  21. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 4:50 pm:

    –All increasing minimum wage does is increase inflation and pander to people who are not educated enough to know that. –

    Uh-oh, an educated anti-panderer economist.

    The minimum wage has been law since 1938. Want to give us the lowdown on how it’s crippled the American economy since then?

    I seem to recall some growth spurts. Like the biggest bull run expansion of wealth for more people than any time in history.

  22. - Bogey Golfer - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 4:51 pm:

    Word - Panera will have fully automated kiosks at all their places by 2016. At Chili’s and Applebees, you will be able to order your food from a screen at every table. Someone will need to bring your food and drinks out and clean up tables, but then you swipe your card at the screen and leave.

  23. - Steve - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 5:12 pm:


    America’s first major minimum wage increase did in elevator operators. Did they lose their jobs overnight? No. It took a little while to put in new elevators. You will not see to many people at the check out counter at your grocery at $13 an hour or working behind the counter at McDonald’s-especially since their earnings haven’t been so good of late.

  24. - How Ironic - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 5:33 pm:


    Are you so sure it was the minimum wage that did in those elevator operators? Or do you think after a while the mystery of ‘pushing a button’ waned and people realized (IE Building Owners) they really didn’t have to pay someone to do it?

    Maybe you can blame the minimum wage on causing buggy whip makers to go belly up to? I mean after all…

  25. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 5:33 pm:

    –America’s first major minimum wage increase did in elevator operators.–

    LOL, so what?

    Is that why you’re against a minimum wage increase? To hold off technological advance? I don’t believe you.

    There will always be lousy jobs to do, dude. Getting paid a decent wage to do them won’t crash the economy (we let the big boys do that, and pay them handsomely for it).

  26. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 5:54 pm:

    Steve, your elevator operator story stirred Proustian memories in me, to a time when America was great.

    It was the Age of the Pin Monkey. Brave, nimble souls, hunkered in bunkers behind ten pins with cannonballs flying at them all day.

    They didn’t make much, but they didn’t care; they would have done it for free. It was about glory The thrill of being part of a 10th frame turkey; seeing a kid pick up a seven-ten split; and surviving the onslaught of Fat Stosch and his wicked spin.

    But along came Roosevelt with his minimum wage and New Deal, which was no deal for the Pin Monkeys. Because of the minimum wage, automation came to the lanes, and the Pin Monkey went the way of the Dodo.

    America lost the Pin Monkeys to misguided socialism. Still, sometimes when you hear thunder, you imagine Earl Anthony has just rolled another 300 in heaven, and the Eternal Pin Monkey is setting them back up.

  27. - Steve - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 6:12 pm:

    -How Ironic -
    Elevator operators were done in by the increase from 40 cents to 70 cents.

  28. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 7:25 pm:

    Whoa! Apparently quite a few folks in the “Big City” are out in La-La Land if they actually expPECT it jumpin’ up to $13/hr. any time soon!

    First, we have to get it up to $10–but, indeed, that VERY high level of Backers for the Increase very well could drive up the number of folks heading to the Polls in November, though, so that they’ll have an Avenue whereby they can ardently voice their Opinions in FAVOR of the Referendumm–thereby likely simulTAneously helping the like-minded Governor as to this key issue, and Democarats overall somewhat, (and MAYbe in enough numbers, coupled with the expected several THOUSands of new, likely young “Same Day” Voters, to push Pat Quinn over the top once again)…!

  29. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 7:27 pm:

    That was meant to be spelled “Referendum” and “Democrats” up above…! Missed out on that late-Afternoon, extra cup ‘o Joe today!!

  30. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 9:18 pm:

    I suspect that many of those supporting this think that somebody else will be paying this; “big business”, the “rich”, “white people”.

    If they thought that the difference would be fully borne by them, perhaps they might think differently.

    Here’s a way to separate the friends of the poor from the frauds, and it would be a good way for those businesses most hurt by this to get their point across in a magnanamous way.

    Every McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, Harolds Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Chipotle should have a “raise the minimum wage!” donation jar and charge line on credit card bills.

    They should calculate what the extra cost to the consumers would be if Rahm’s bill passes, then have the receipt have the extra amount for the wage increase listed on the bill. The fund fromo those choosing to pay it would be completely given to minimum wage workers, or perhaps those making less than $10 per hour, and distribute it to those hourly workers as a “bonus” every month in their paychecks, subject to taxes. Medicare and SSC, of course.

    That will be just about the only HONEST way to gauge public support for this.

    In fact, if 84% of customers do this, and perhaps give more than they need, there might not be any NEED to enact this by law for big companies.

    My guess is that the Lincoln Park folks will assuage their guilt by overpaying, but from Rogers Park to Altgeld Gardens there’ll be slim pickin’s.

    After that, the businesses can truly say that their customers aren’t REALLY supportive of the minimum wage increase, and it will bring the increased cost to the minds of the public.

    I know this isn’t the way things are done in
    Chicaguh and it would really tick off Rahm and the Alderman, but it would be great PR just about anywhere else.

    More’s the pity….

  31. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 9:38 pm:

    ===I doubt too many fast food workers will be competing with an Ipad at $13 an hour.===

    And your point is what?

  32. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 10:35 pm:

    Steve, you’re really doubling down on the elevator operators? I thought you were kidding. You’re quite the Luddite.

    Can’t think of any other reasons why more advanced high-speed elevators might have been attractive to builders?

    Maybe you’re right. Maybe usurious icemen led to the refrigerator. Or high-priced telephone operators to the cell phone. And uppity horses to the car.

    You and Arizona Bob should talk.

  33. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 10:49 pm:

    OK, so lemme get this straight. Some of y’all oppose a minimum wage increase because automation - which is apparently coming anyway - will mean lost jobs, even though the automation is coming anyway.

    Yay, logic!

    Also, elevator operators!

    Yes, let’s all pine for the day when no minimum wage meant that companies didn’t need to innovate - or something.

    Stick with that.

  34. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 7:51 am:

    If our economy was healthy, there wouldn’t be any call for an increase in the minimum wage. It is amazing to me that the same party who has burdened job creators and have hobbled them through regulations, costs and taxes - now want to address the bad results of their economic malpractice - by demanding an increase in the minimum wage.

    It won’t fix a damn thing.

    A demand of a minimum wage increase in an admission that the economic and business policies being followed have been a disaster. It is time for logical thinking citizens to call these economic charlatans on their bluff and failures!

  35. - A guy - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 7:54 am:

    Good discussion. I’m hungry. Welcome to McDonalds, may I direct your attention to our $5 Value menu? We need a minimum wage. We need to manage it. No surprise that 84% want to spend other people’s money. That says everything about the economic culture of Illinois.
    Sure do miss those elevator operators. They experienced hundreds of raises every day. lol

  36. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 8:07 am:

    ==No surprise that 84% want to spend other people’s money.==

    That is such a load of baloney. If you don’t want to spend your money then don’t spend it. Nobody is forcing you. To suggest that increasing the minimum wage is about spending other people’s money is just ignorant. But I know that’s the talking point that is used a lot to argue against anything so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

    ==If our economy was healthy, there wouldn’t be any call for an increase in the minimum wage.==

    If minimum wage kept pace with inflation there wouldn’t be a need to raise it now. The better way to address the minimum wage would be to set it up like Social Security and tie yearly increases to an inflationary factor. Let it rise naturally.

  37. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 8:34 am:

    –We need to manage it. No surprise that 84% want to spend other people’s money. That says everything about the economic culture of Illinois.–

    A proposed increase is “managing it.” Unless you think the current rate is set in stone for some reason.

    And Mitt, the 84% just might disagree with you for a lot of good reasons. What “economic culture,” whatever that means, are you part of, anyway?

    If you and VMan want to wax academically about the perils of raising the minimum wage, or even having a minimum wage, be sure to reference some real-life examples from it’s 70-plus year history in the United States as to its dire consequences.

    Otherwise, you’re just spouting superficial talking points. And I know you’d never want to do that.

  38. - lefty333 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 8:50 am:

    I hope people understand some basic concepts, no you cannot support a family at $8.50 an hour “flipping burgers” nor were you ever meant to! If the minimum wage is raised to “acceptable levels” (?) do you really think business will eat that money? NEVER how much will eggs, milk and the such cost? and the dollar menu? maybe the $5 menu

  39. - Federalist - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 9:17 am:

    Any thought to raising the minimum wage for those 21 and over with a lower minimum wage for those under 21?

  40. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    –Any thought to raising the minimum wage for those 21 and over with a lower minimum wage for those under 21?–

    Why? You can vote when you’re 18. You can serve in the armed forces when you’re 18. Why should they be second-class citizens?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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