On this Labor Day holiday, Governor Pat Quinn today honored workers across Illinois by visiting Chicago's historic Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church to continue his ongoing fight to raise Illinois' minimum wage from $8.25 to $10. Governor Quinn made raising the minimum wage one of his priorities in his 2013 State of the State address and today's visit furthers his commitment to ensuring all Illinois workers are treated fairly and receive the compensation they deserve.
"No one in Illinois should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty," Governor Quinn said. "There is no better way to honor hard-working men and women across Illinois by raising the minimum wage. As we honor Illinois' workers this Labor Day, we should also remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said "it's always the right time to do the right thing'."
At the church once visited by Dr. King in 1964, Governor Quinn - a longtime advocate of a higher minimum wage -- noted that a full-time minimum wage worker in Illinois makes around $16,600 annually, which is well below the Federal Poverty Threshold of $23,550 for a family of four.
"If we want to fight poverty, curb crime and revitalize our neighborhoods, the best way to do it is with jobs," Governor Quinn said. "Increasing the minimum wage will ensure that many Illinois workers get a fair day's wages for a fair day's work and can pull themselves from poverty."
The Illinois minimum wage ($8.25) -- which hasn't been increased since 2010 - is less than half of the average U.S. hourly wage ($19.97) and far less than the typical CEO's hourly pay ($3,072 per hour, according to an Associated Press analysis). By increasing the Illinois minimum wage to $10, a half-million Illinois consumers will make an extra $4,800 a year and much of that extra income will typically be spent at local businesses on food, clothing and furniture.
Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have raised their minimum wages higher than $7.25 per hour, which is the current federal rate.
In August, Governor Quinn signed three laws that fight questionable practices in order to protect Illinois workers' paychecks. House Bill 2649, House Bill 923 and House Bill 3125 deal with the misclassification of workers and the attempts of employers to avoid paying state employment taxes and premiums.