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

Chicago Minimum Wage “Hike”:
Emanuel’s Political Ploy

Dec 8, 2014

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel has closed dozens of schools and mental health clinics. He funnels huge amounts of tax money from poorer areas to development projects in rich areas like a sports arena and Marriott hotel. He has been privatizing whatever he can, including custodial services in the schools, and he’s pushed to cut city workers’ wages, pensions, and staffing levels.

But now that he’s up for reelection, he pretends to be the friend of Chicago’s workers by pushing through an increase in the city’s minimum wage to $13 an hour.

The reality is that the city minimum wage would only hit $13 an hour in 2019. It would go up to $10 in July of 2015, then $10.50 in 2016. Meanwhile, the pay for workers getting tips, like servers at restaurants or people who push wheelchairs at the airports, would only go up to $5.95 an hour.

Emanuel claims that “A higher minimum wage ensures that nobody who works in the City of Chicago will ever struggle to reach the middle class or be forced to raise their child in poverty.” But even at today’s prices, living on $13 an hour in Chicago MEANS living in poverty! How much will rent, gas, health care, clothes, and food go up by 2019?

No, if workers are ever going to stop the slide in our standard of living, we’ll have to rely on our own forces, not on slimy capitalist politicians like Rahm Emanuel.