The Calumet City Council approved an ordinance Monday allowing residents to vote to raise the minimum wage to $15 for all workers, including those who earn tips.
Residents will vote on the measure in the city’s upcoming April election, making Calumet City the first city in Illinois to allow a referendum on the minimum wage.
A coalition of workers’ advocacy groups pushed the referendum, collecting over 1,400 signatures from Calumet City voters wishing to weigh in on the measure. The group is comprised of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos: Immigrant Workers’ Project, the Restaurant Opportunities Center Chicago and The Collaborative for Health Equity Cook County, and other advocacy groups.
The push to raise the minimum wage for everyone including tipped workers is part of the larger One Fair Wage campaign, which looks to break down the restaurant industry’s two-tiered wage system. Tipped workers are currently paid a minimum wage that starts at $2.13 an hour at the federal level.
“This is an important win not only for Calumet City workers but all workers in Illinois,” Ana Guajardo, of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, said in a statement. “Tipped workers have been excluded from minimum wage increases for far too long. This could help set the precedence [sic] for a trend in minimum wage increases to come to Illinois,” Guajardo added.
However, advocates claim there’s “widespread concern about attacks on workers throughout the nation” following President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Andy Pudzer, chief executive officer of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., as U.S. Secretary of Labor.
In a 2014 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Pudzer opposed the Obama administration’s push to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 from $7.25, where it’s stood since 2009. He also railed against federal changes to overtime pay in a May Forbes op-ed, claiming they would hurt workers and businesses alike. Additionally, Pudzer welcomed increased automation in a March interview with Business Insider.