* Press release…
Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley following passage today in the Illinois House of Representatives of Senate Bill 81, to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2022:
“While corporations are enjoying record profits, workers in Illinois are suffering. Today, the House of Representatives took a historic step to reversing this course and building our economy from the bottom-up, instead of placing our faith in the misguided hope that prosperity will trickle down.
“Senate Bill 81 represents a major advance for Illinois and is the answer to so many of the pressing questions facing our state. Growing inequality. Revenue problems and the related cuts to services. Population loss. The manufactured budget crisis. On behalf of our workers, I congratulate the representatives who chose to act boldly for our future.
“Opponents of raising the wage during today’s debate used the same old stale and discredited scare claims about automation and job loss. But we know, as our allies do, that nonpartisan, peer-reviewed research shows that raising the wage does NOT lead to significant relocation or unemployment. Its MAIN effect is giving workers a living wage.
“Now, as the legislative session comes to a close, we ask our allies in the Senate to pass this legislation that will help 2.3 million workers, grow our economy and give Illinois a much-needed raise.”
* Press release…
Statement attributable to Illinois Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Todd Maisch on increasing the minimum wage:
“Raising the minimum wage would be a devastating blow to job creators throughout Illinois. This proposal would raise the Illinois minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. Meanwhile, neighboring states including Missouri and Iowa have a minimum wage of nearly half that amount.
This is unacceptable.
If anyone wonders why jobs, economic opportunity and population keep leaving Illinois for other states, look no further than those state lawmakers who are legislating Illinois into a second-tier state for competitiveness.
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has faith in Illinois’ economic outlook, but state polices cannot continue to make the climate ever tougher on our job creators.”
* Press release…
Members of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage representing a range of industries across Illinois commented in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2022.
Dan Sherry, Owner, Kennedy’s Creative Awards, Waukegan: “Gradually raising Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 is the smart thing to do for our state, our businesses and our people. We start our employees now at $12 an hour and treat them well in order to retain quality staff. And it works. Our staff turnover is low, which results in fantastic customer service and repeat customers. That’s what it takes to have a strong business. When more businesses pay higher wages and workers have more money to spend, it will create a stronger Illinois business climate.”
Robert Olson, Owner, Olson & Associates in Springfield, Washington and Lombard: “Every day I see hardworking men and women who want to protect their families with insurance, but are struggling just to get by on low wages. Raising the minimum wage is a kind of insurance for both businesses and workers. It will enable workers to make ends meet and it will boost the consumer spending that drives business and strengthens the economy.”
David Borris, Owner, Hel’s Kitchen Catering, Northbrook: “Raising the minimum wage is pro-business. Local small businesses have a deeply personal interest in the financial health of the communities we do business in. The wellbeing of our customer base and our workforce shows in our bottom line. A healthy economy needs money circulating widely in a virtuous cycle of rising wages, consumer demand and job creation. That’s a recipe for success.”
Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, CEO of Earth Friendly Products, which just celebrated 50 years of manufacturing in Addison: “Having manufactured in Illinois for 50 years, we know that raising the minimum wage to $15 will help businesses and employees thrive. Paying a living wage has improved our bottom line. We start employees at $17 and provide great benefits while selling our products at competitive prices. Our voluntary turnover rate is extremely low, our productivity has increased, and our profits continue to grow. Our ECOS brand is sold in 60 countries. And our employees are our greatest brand ambassadors.”
Tim Frick, Owner, Mightybytes, Chicago: “Raising our state’s minimum wage to $15 is smart business and smart policy to jump-start our economy now and strengthen it over the long term. Illinois businesses need customers with more money to buy our products and services. Workers at one business are customers at another. We can’t grow the economy by paying wages that workers can’t live on and then bemoaning weak consumer demand. It’s why I strongly support legislation that would raise Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 by 2022.”
Michelle Knox, Owner, WindSolarUSA, Springfield: “No one working full-time should have to live in poverty, but Illinois’ current minimum wage isn’t enough for people to afford even the basics. That needs to change. We know from experience with our own current entry wage of about $13, that a higher minimum wage results in more productive and loyal employees. And when the minimum wage goes up across the state, workers turn around and spend their hard-earned dollars at local businesses, which boosts revenues. A higher wage floor is a win-win for workers and businesses.”
Scott Pfeiffer, Partner, Threshold Acoustics, Chicago: “The current state minimum wage doesn’t allow working people to meet their basic needs, which is bad for business and our economy. When employees earn more, they spend it on goods and services they couldn’t afford before. This boost in consumer spending helps businesses grow and create more jobs – including the businesses that form our client base. A gradual increase in Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 by 2022 will strengthen our communities, boost businesses’ bottom lines and help reduce the strain on our social safety net – all of which will bolster our economy.”
* Press release…
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) issued the following statement regarding the passing of the minimum wage bill out of the Illinois House that seeks to increase the minimum wage in Illinois to $15.00 per hour by 2022:
“The political campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour has already resulted in reduced hours and eliminated positions in major cities where this has been enacted, including the City of Chicago. In fact, we have seen automation and self-service alternatives replace jobs due to continued efforts to artificially increase wages through government actions instead of working with employers. Quite simply, the state cannot bear another proposal that eliminates what little opportunity exists in Illinois. We urge lawmakers to show more restraint when making decisions that significantly and negatively impacts a business’ bottom line.”
Facts about the minimum wage:
Illinois’ minimum wage is already the highest in the Midwest. Illinois is poised to add another anti-competitive burden to retailers’ ability to compete with retailers in border states.
Raising the minimum wage will continue to keep people, especially teens, out of jobs. According to a January 2016 report from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute, only 12.4 percent of African Americans, 15 percent of Hispanic or Latinos and 24.4 percent of Whites (non-Hispanic or Latinos), ages 16 to 19 years old, are employed in Chicago. This destroys what little opportunity exists.
Minimum wage salaries are a floor, not a ceiling. Workers are not locked into minimum wage jobs, they have the ability to garner the necessary skills to advance and earn higher wages. Retail ranks are filled with those who started in minimum wage jobs.
Penalizes brick-and-mortar retailers over internet retailers. The minimum wage hike will not impact internet retailers, but penalize those retailers that invest in a physical property, workforce, pay property and sales taxes, etc.
…Adding… Ameya Pawar…
Ameya Pawar, 47th Ward alderman and Democratic candidate for Illinois governor, issued the following statement today following passage of Senate Bill 81 in the Illinois House of Representatives, to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour:
“A New Deal for Illinois means a $15 minimum wage. This will help more than 40 percent of all workers from across a wide range of industries and in every corner of the state. It will benefit almost half of all African-American and female workers, and more than 60 percent of Latino workers. I applaud the members of the Illinois House of Representatives for taking this historic step today by passing Senate Bill 81. Now, I urge the members of the Illinois Senate to pass, and Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign, this common-sense bill into law.
“Low wages drive income inequality and stifle economic growth. I’ve seen it first-hand, as co-chair of the Working Families Task Force, which helped raise the minimum wage in Chicago. But the problem persists across Illinois. As I’ve toured the state in my campaign for governor, I’ve witnessed how low wages affect the lives of everyone.
“Over 2.3 million full-time workers earn so little they qualify for public assistance in the form of food stamps, housing subsidies for example. It’s immoral, and it shifts the costs of social responsibility from wealthy corporations to the taxpayer. Low pay costs Illinois taxpayers more than $5 billion a year in public assistance support. If families don’t have to scrape by each month, they can spend money in small businesses across the state, with rippling effects across every supply chain. Fairly-paid employees become good customers.
“I will remain committed to a $15 minimum wage for the Illinois. It will help generate revenue, end the subsidization of corporations who fail to pay a living wage and, more importantly, help the working families of Illinois who suffer in this rigged economy.”
…Adding… Another one…
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement following the passing of SB 81 out of the Illinois House, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022:
“Over the last several years Chicagoland businesses have seen taxes, fees and mandates that have totaled over $2 billion. The business community cannot withstand further costs from a $15 an hour minimum wage, which places undue burden on our state’s employers and further inhibits business development and job growth in Chicago. We need to do the hard work of investing in our citizens’ workforce development, including vocational training, community college, and the trades. Not a politically expedient raise in the starting wage that does nothing to ensure that people are uplifted out of poverty over the long term. Should the Senate concur, we strongly urge the Governor to stand up for the business community by vetoing SB 81,” said Theresa E. Mintle, president & CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
Democrat lawmakers in Springfield continue to impose new and costly mandates on Illinois employers.
Minutes ago, the Illinois House of Representatives narrowly passed a $15 per hour minimum wage that would apply to every business regardless of size. SB 81 passed on a vote of 61-53-2 and now heads to the Senate for consideration where Senate President John Cullerton has pledged a vote today or tomorrow before the spring session concludes. This represents a whopping 82 percent spike in the state’s minimum wage and would make it the highest in the nation when fully phased in after five years.
Additionally, the Senate voted 31-17-0 this afternoon to impose a new paid leave mandate on all Illinois businesses. HB 2771 mandates that every employer provide up to 5 paid days of leave to every employee annually and it now moves back to the House of Representatives for concurrence in the next two days.
These bills are politically-motivated measures designed to create a wedge issue in the coming 2018 gubernatorial election because they anticipate that Governor Bruce Rauner will veto these bills. Between 2013-2016, Democrats occupied the Governor’s mansion and held veto-proof majorities in the General Assembly but did not pass this type of legislation. Rather than voting on a minimum wage bill, Speaker Michael J. Madigan put a minimum wage referendum on the statewide ballot in an unsuccessful effort to drive voter turnout.
Illinois continues to lose manufacturing jobs while our neighboring states are recovering from the recession and adding tens of thousands of new jobs. For three years in a row, Illinois has had the dubious distinction of losing the largest number of residents who are fleeing Illinois for other locales.
The IMA strongly opposes both SB 81 and HB 2771 and will request a veto if they land on the Governor’s desk. In the meantime, IMA members are requested to contact their lawmakers immediately to request NO votes on these bills.
Today, JB Pritzker released the following statement in response to the Illinois House passing a $15 minimum wage bill:
“I’m thrilled to see the House pass a $15 minimum wage and will continue to stand with working families across our state to see this bill signed into law,” said JB Pritzker. “The fact is, working families and our most vulnerable communities continue to get left behind and raising the minimum wage to $15 moves our state in the right direction. This bill will help ensure that Illinois workers have the resources they need to support themselves and their families. While Bruce Rauner stands with special interests to oppose a minimum wage, I will always stand with Illinois’ working families in the fight to make this a reality for our state.”
…Adding… Senate President Cullerton…
“The Senate has been waiting a long time for this. I hope that my assurances that this will get a vote in the Senate helped give the House members the courage to do the right thing. The Senate is ready to take this up if the House can get the paperwork over to us.”
I’ve asked for clarification about that last bit on whether the House can submit its paperwork in a timely manner.
And subscribers will get the snark about “courage.”