City Council addresses minimum wage, prepares push for uniform wage law
CALUMET CITY (September 28, 2017) –The City Council on Thursday voted 5-2 against opting into the Cook County Minimum Wage Ordinance.
While the Council split on implementing the controversial wage increase, the Mayor and Aldermen have remained in agreement that the City lacks legal jurisdiction to approve and enforce such a measure. Officials have stated support for a federally-mandated minimum wage to even the playing field for all cities.
Since last October, when the Cook County Board approved a minimum wage increase, roughly 110 out of 130 towns have opted out of the minimum wage increase. Cities such as Calumet City, which border the tax-friendly State of Indiana, already deal with consumers and businesses fleeing to save money. Officials believe raising the minimum wage and the cost of doing business in town may provide further incentive to shop and locate across the state line.
Following months of discussion on the issue, publicly and privately with residents and business owners, Mayor Michelle Markiewicz-Qualkinbush announced her support of both an increase in the minimum wage and in tipped wages. At the September 14 Council meeting, the Mayor directed the City Attorney to prepare legislation to 1) opt into the County’s minimum wage; and 2) to urge federal and state representatives “to support our residents and address the issue of raising the minimum and tipped wage in Illinois and nationally” to avoid pitting states and towns against each other.
The Council’s vote on Thursday reflected action on the first directive. The Council will take up the second measure next month when the resolution is finalized.