CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance Friday that would raise the pay for tipped workers who make less than minimum wage.
The One Fair Wage ordinance is a proposal championed by the national One Fair Wage Coalition, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, and a large sect of the Chicago City Council.
“I’m grateful to the many alderpeople, the One Fair Wage coalition, and all of the workers and advocates who made this a historic day for Chicago,” Johnson said in a press release Friday.
The legislation will provide for the wages of tipped workers such as restaurant servers, bartenders, bussers and runners who earn a subminimum wage of $9.48 per hour to increase by 8 percent per year until it reaches parity with Chicago’s standard hourly minimum wage of $15.80.
City Council voted 36-10 in favor of implementing the measure.
“The One Fair Wage win demonstrates that Chicago values the labor of our workers. We have declared that their work is dignified and worthy of a fair wage,” said 26th Ward Ald. Jessie Fuentes, a sponsor of the One Fair Wage ordinance. “This vote will lead to a stronger economy and a safer city, especially for our Black and Brown families.”
Supporters of the ordinance call it a fair wage plan, while opponents say it will hurt businesses — like restaurants — that do not have big profit margins.
“My constituents feel like it’s going to hurt more than help our local economy,” said 11th Ward Ald. Nicole Lee.
“I believe this is a business killer, a job killer,” added 36th Ward Ald. Nicholas Sposato. “And I do not support this.”
The Illinois Restaurant Association echoed Lee and Sposato’s sentiments, sharing a statement with WGN News Friday that said they were not in favor of the One Fair Wage ordinance, but are now more receptive to it with the five-year phase-in plan included in its implementation.
“While we wholeheartedly disagree with the decision to move forward with the elimination of the tip credit, we do believe the amended 5-year phase-in plan is a compromise we can accept and represents a middle ground between what our members want and the City’s legislative priorities. Change is always difficult, and we have fought such proposals for years; however, negotiations require concessions by both sides to come to a resolution, and this ordinance is the result of an open dialogue between our organization, the Mayor’s office, and members of the Chicago City Council. While imperfect, our Board of Directors believed a deal to extend the implementation period was the best way for our industry to move forward and adjust to the City’s new stance on this issue.”Illinois Restaurant Association