Urges Arlington Heights board to re-examine minimum wage
Reclaim Northwest Suburbs asked the Arlington Heights Village Board in September to reopen discussion on the Cook County Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave ordinances and vote to opt in. The board refused.
If the board had agreed, a minimum wage worker in Arlington Heights would be receiving $11 an hour, increasing by $1 a year to $13 by 2020, and five paid sick days.
In recent nonbinding referendums, 65 percent of Arlington Heights residents were in favor of increasing the minimum wage and 75 percent, paid sick days.
• The board said no new research had been done on this issue since their vote to opt out over a year ago.
We disagree. Many cities and states have conducted studies on the minimum wage. Wilmette's 436-page study this year found that increasing the minimum wage would benefit their residents and businesses. Wilmette then voted to opt in to the ordinance, a year after they opted out.
• The board said a minimum-wage increase should be decided by the state or federal government, not municipalities.
The state and federal government are in gridlock on this issue, and unlike them, municipalities have the power right now to raise the minimum wage and provide paid sick leave.
• Mayor Tom Hayes stated, "The Village of Arlington Heights went above and beyond last year in terms of our discussion on the minimum wage issue."
We disagree. If it wasn't for public outcry in support of the ordinances, the board was fully prepared to rubber stamp the opt-out without discussion on March 20, 2017. The village did what was minimally required for public input.
The next important step is for Arlington Heights residents to vote yes on a November referendum in favor of municipalities increasing the minimum wage and paid sick leave.
Tom Mussar, member
Reclaim Northwest Suburbs