Women’s E-News (womensenews.org) recently posted two articles about the campaign to raise the minimum wage in Illinois.
Melissa Josephs, Director of Equal Opportunity Policy at Women Employed and member of the Raise Illinois coalition, wrote an article for WeNews, “Minimum Wage Doesn’t Pay for Hard Work; Let’s Hike,” about the challenges facing minimum wage workers and why they need a raise.
“Minimum-wage earners are breadwinners–disproportionately female–who are supporting spouses, children, parents and other relatives. While women make up just under half of the national work force, we are roughly 60 percent of minimum-wage workers.
With the worst recession in a generation gripping our nation, more families than ever are relying on minimum-wage jobs in industries such as retail, home health care and food preparation and service. Oftentimes, these are the only jobs available to people trying desperately to keep their families afloat.”
Madeline Talbott, Lead Organizer of Action Now and member of the Raise Illinois coalition, was quoted in the article, “Tipped Workers Hope for Hike in Sub-Minimum Wage”.
“Madeline Talbott, chief organizer of Action Now, a Chicago-based, grassroots organization of working families that advocates for economic change, predicts that Illinois will eliminate its sub-minimum wage for tipped workers (currently $4.95 an hour) when the legislature considers a package of bills this spring to increase the overall state minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.65. Last year, a poll found that 71 percent of voters supported these changes.
‘State legislatures are more likely to pass economic bills like this in presidential election years,’ says Talbott. ‘The recent recession — the worst since the Great Depression of 1929 — has shown legislators that an increase of a few hundred dollars in a tipped worker’s annual wage not only benefits the worker, but the state economy. Low-wage workers spend the increased funds on groceries, school supplies for their kids and other necessities that create jobs for other workers.’”