FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(March 31, 2014, Chicago) – Raise Illinois, the statewide coalition working to raise the minimum wage, joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Governor Pat Quinn, and State Senate President, John Cullerton, along with low-wage workers and community partners for the Americans United for Change bus tour today at Federal Plaza.
April Verrett, who serves as the Executive Vice-President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, emceed the press event on behalf of Raise Illinois and issued the following statement:
“More than ever, we need leaders who are willing to fight for pragmatic solutions – not fight over ideology.
“That’s why over 600 of our nation’s top economists, including 7 Nobel Prize winners, all agree that raising the minimum wage will grow our economy, create more jobs, and support small businesses by giving working families more money in their pockets to spend in our local economy.
“In Illinois, no one can support a family making a minimum wage of $8.25 an hour, which equals $17,000 per year for a full-time worker.
“And yet, lifting the minimum wage in Illinois will immediately help over 400,000 minimum wage workers.
“No one who works full-time should have to live in poverty.
“Working families deserve real economic opportunity and fairness – not excuses for why they continue to struggle to pay their bills and see their wages continually decline compared to the cost of living.
“That’s why it’s urgent that Congress acts to raise the minimum wage and why we strongly urge Senator Mark Kirk to support the Fair Wage Act.
“But here in Illinois, we know that working families can’t wait any longer – which is why Springfield shouldn’t wait either.
“We call upon our lawmakers in Springfield to work on a bipartisan basis, and to partner with Governor Quinn, to raise the minimum wage in Illinois to $10.65 an hour.
“It is crucial that our state lawmakers not view raising the minimum wage as a political issue but rather a moral imperative and an economic priority on behalf of working families.”
Raise Illinois is a coalition comprised of community, business, faith, and labor organizations, along with minimum wage workers and working families that are committed to raising the minimum wage in Illinois. www.raiseillinois.com