The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Minimum Wage Increases—But Still Can’t Buy What It Used To!

Jul 18, 2022

At the beginning of July, the Chicago minimum wage went up to $14.50 an hour. The director of labor standards for the city announced the increase with great fanfare. "To the workers, we see you. We hear you … in our office you’ve got an ally…."

The more than 430,000 workers in Chicago who make minimum wage are surely glad for any increase. But is this guy serious? An ally, who enforces $14.50 an hour in a city where a gallon of gas is almost $6, and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1850 a month?

Back in 2012, some activists tied to the unions and the Democratic Party began a campaign to “fight for $15.” Now we finally almost have it—and that 15 dollars can barely buy what 10 dollars did ten years ago!

To really get livable wages, workers will have to claw back wealth the big corporations have exploited from their labor. That is something no politician of either party will ever do—no matter how much of an “ally” they claim to be!