Aldermen, Action Now leaders call for $15 minimum wage

Aldermen, Action Now leaders call for $15 minimum wage

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

President Obama joined a growing number of politicians and labor groups calling for an increase in the minimum wage during his State of the Union address. That call is picking up steam here in Illinois.

The president talked about raising the minimum wage for new federal contract workers from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. On Thursday, a group of aldermen, community activists and low-income workers called for a minimum wage of $15 an hour in Chicago.

Ten Chicago aldermen and leaders of a group called "Action Now" are supporting a referendum that will be on the ballot in 20 Chicago wards on Primary Election Day in March. The rally took place at the Chicago Temple across from City Hall.

The referendum, which is non-binding, asks voters whether corporations that made over $50 million the previous tax year should be required to pay workers a minimum wage of $15 an hour. The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25, which works out to about $17,000 a year.

Leaders of the movement say those big corporations have a financial responsibility to share their profits not just with stockholders, but with their workers as well.

During Wednesday's State of the State speech, Governor Pat Quinn also called on raising the Illinois' minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The Chicago referendum is advisory only, meaning it has no legal authority. It is meant to put some heat on the City Council to take action.

Illinois businesses have strongly objected to a drastic hike in the minimum wage, saying it would force companies to eliminate jobs and may prompt some companies to leave the state altogether.

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