CHICAGO — Tipped workers in Chicago would see a change in how they are paid under a bill before a City Council Committee on Wednesday.

City Council’s Workforce Development Committee passed an ordinance impacting tipped workers paid the subminimum wage. The group is currently paid 60% of the minimum wage.

“We’re not even talking about livable wage,” said Ald. David Moore (17th ward). “Livable!”

“We cannot say that we want communities on the South and West Sides to be economically viable if we’re not willing to pay our people the minimum wage,” added Ald. Jessie Fuentes (25th Ward).

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: City council members propose plan to eliminate sub-minimum wage for tipped workers  

Under the measure, the workers would receive 8% annual pay increases, beginning July 1, 2024 until they reach the minimum wage level on July 1, 2028. The five-year phase was negotiated with the support of ‘One Fair Wage,’ as well as crucial restaurant industry leaders.

“We do believe the amended five-year phase-in plan agreed by the Council and our association’s Board of Directors is a compromise we can all live with,” said Sam Toia with the Illinois Restaurant Association.

The plan makes good on a campaign promise by Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson to eliminate the subminimum wage.

“Mayor Johnson is an organizer, he’s a convener, he made sure that everyone came together to get this done,” said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward).

While the change would be massive, strong opposition remains from some restaurants and bars and even some tipped workers, who worry customers will not be as generous about their tips amid an increase in pay to workers.

“When I talk to prospective restaurant owners they say, ‘Tell me how am I going to make money Monday through Thursday'” said Ald. Marty Quinn (13th Ward).

“A lot of businesses don’t know how to navigate maybe don’t know how to navigate getting through this,” added Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th Ward).

Michael Saltsman, with the Employment Policies Institute, believes jobs will be lost if the elimination of subminimum wage comes to fruition.

“But most concerningly tipped workers will earn less,” Saltsman added.

The full City Council will take up the ordinance on Oct. 4.