This week, McDonald's workers from around the country marched on the fast-food giant's Oak Brook headquarters to demand a hike in hourly pay.
Many are paid their state's minimum wage. In Illinois, that's $8.25 an hour.
While McDonald's workers are seeking an increase to $15 an hour, voters might be asked in November whether the minimum wage in Illinois should be raised to $10 an hour.
Earlier this week, the Illinois House passed a bill that would put an advisory referendum on your ballot. The Senate will vote next.
If voters approve and lawmakers follow suit, such a move would have an impact not only on global corporate giants such as McDonald's but on locally owned, small-town businesses, too.
Illinois has the fifth-highest minimum wage in the United States. New Jersey, Nevada and Washington, D.C., also require an hourly minimum wage of $8.25. Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont and Washington state mandate a higher minimum wage.
According to Capitol Fax, four Republicans supported the House bill to put the issue to voters directly and three Democrats opposed it:
- The Republican reps: John Anthony, R-Plainfield; John Cabello, R-Machesney Park; C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville; Michael McAuliffe, R-Chicago.
- The Democrats: Carol Sente, D-Vernon Hills; Jack Franks, D-Marengo; Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton.
Michael McAuliffe, the Republican who reps the northwest side of Chicago and nearby north suburbs, told the Chicago Sun-Times: "There’s a lot of people that are unemployed — young and also a lot of seniors. When they go into the job market, sometimes they’re denied good-paying jobs, and all they have, the only jobs that are available, are the ones at minimum wage. A lot of seniors are still trying to make ends meet and for me I feel it’s a good fit for them."
ChicagoBusiness.com put together a timeline of key dates in the minimum wage debate. Here are a few worth noting:
- Feb. 6, 2013: Gov. Pat Quinn calls for a $10 minimum wage in his State of the State speech, drawing fire from some members of the state's business community.
- April 24, 2013: Hundreds of retail and fast food workers in Chicago go on a coordinated strike to call for a living wage of $15 an hour.
- Jan. 8, 2014: GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner calls to cut the minimum wage in Illinois $1 an hour to $7.25, then releases a statement saying that he's not opposed to a minimum wage and, in fact would like to raise it — under some circumstances. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin later blasts Mr. Rauner for being "out of touch" on the minimum wage issue.
» Related: See more key dates at ChicagoBusiness.com
Your Turn: What do you think? Would you vote yes or no? If you're a business owner, how would this impact your business?