Emanuel Signs Minimum Wage Executive Order

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday signed an executive order requiring city contractors and subcontractors to pay employees a $13-an-hour minimum wage.

Officials said it will apply to city contractors advertised after Oct. 1 and will affect about 1,000 contracted employees. Those would include landscapers, maintenance workers, security officers and custodial workers.

"It creates a floor so you can afford a family and be able to give your children the life that they deserve," Emanuel said at Environmental Design International, at 33 West Monroe Street.

The mayor in July introduced a city ordinance that would gradually increase the minimum wage in Chicago to $13 an hour. The action drew praise from the president of SEIU Local 1, Tom Balanoff.

A panel called the Minimum Wage Working Group said the higher wages would increase earnings for about 410,000 people -- or 31 percent of Chicago workers -- and inject nearly $800 million into the Chicago economy.

Gov. Pat  Quinn supports raising the state's minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to at least $10 per hour. He vowed to live this week on minimum wage, telling reporters he's eating graham crackers for dinner.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order earlier this year to raise the wage for federal contractors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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