Yet another Chicago suburb is slated to vote on whether it will opt out of an ordinance requiring Cook County business owners to raise minimum wage for workers.
The Des Plaines City Council is expected to vote Monday night as aldermen in the northwest Chicago suburb take up the measure for a second time in a so-called “do over” vote.
The suburban city council group had narrowly passed the law during their last meeting, voting in a surprising move to raise wages and require paid sick days, but a second vote was ordered after arguments from business owners in the area.
Dozens of suburbs have already voted to opt out of the Cook County wage hike, choosing to instead stay with state law mandates for wages. Among them are Tinley Park, Oak Lawn, Oak Forest, Palatine, Schaumburg, Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights.
The Cook County ordinance is set to take effect July 1, requiring businesses to pay $10 per hour and offer paid sick leave for full-time employees. It also calls for subsequent increases of $1 per hour each year until 2020, when the minimum wage will sit at $13 an hour.
The current state minimum wage is $8.25.
Minimum wage employees who believe a raise is long overdue are overwhelmingly in favor of the ordinance, but critics say it will lead to fewer jobs.
It’s estimated that by 2019, the wage bumps will have brought hundreds of thousands out of poverty and added $860 million to the city’s economy.
While some believed the county should wait for the state to approve a minimum wage increase, the Cook County Board said it decided to take on the issue because the “federal government and General Assembly have failed to act.”
“The fact is that the City of Chicago has already committed to a minimum wage increase. Since then, the drumbeat for a countywide wage increase has grown louder,” Commissioner Richard Boykin said in a statement. “If there is one trend that is more harmful to our Cook County economy more than any other, it is uncertainty.”
Boykin noted that while he sympathizes with "the arguments presented in opposition to this measure," he is "mindful of the challenge to our small businesses that is presented by a lack of uniformity in our wage laws."