Chicago approves $13 minimum-wage plan amid compensation debate

Chicago's city council approved a 57 percent boost in the minimum wage, gradually raising it to $13 an hour by 2019.

The 44-to-5 vote today came at the urging of Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who faces a re-election vote in February. Opponents, including those who said the increase wasn't enough and those who warned it would put Chicago businesses at a disadvantage, were overcome by a strengthening national move to boost pay for minimum-wage workers, currently making $8.25 an hour throughout Illinois.

The minimum wage is "about making sure nobody who works raises a child in poverty," Emanuel said after the vote.

With Congress ignoring President Barack Obama's Sept. 1 call to raise the federal minimum to $10.10 from $7.25, states and cities have plunged ahead, mandating better pay in Washington and Oregon, as well as Seattle, San Francisco and Oakland, California. Voters in Republican-leaning Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota endorsed increases in referendums last month. California's minimum wage would increase to $13 a hour, the highest for a state, under legislation introduced yesterday.

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