Wilmette joins list of Chicago suburbs nixing minimum wage hike
Julie Yusim argues that the Wilmette Village Board’s recent decision to opt out of the Cook County minimum wage ordinance was as much about control as money.
“There was no dispute over the question if people should be able to make a livable wage,” Yusim, the executive director of the Wilmette Chamber of Commerce, told the North Cook News. “This was about all the regulations being laid on, making it more difficult for small-business owners already with limited resources to operate as they see fit.”
In a protracted meeting in late June, the Wilmette Village Board voted 6-1 against the wage increase, as well as another ordinance mandating paid sick leave. The decision put Wilmette on a fairly lengthy list of Cook County cities to take similar actions.
The increase has set the minimum wage at $10 per hour in the county and $11 in Chicago. Both will see $1 annual increases until the wage tops out at $13.
“Most businesses here already pay above minimum wage,” Yusim said.
Yusim said what worried her was that the increase would probably mean local business owners would face pressure to raise the pay of all of their workers anyway.
“I just don’t think that much of this has been flushed out, and no one has considered the impact it could have on many business owners,” she said.
The board said that its decision was at least partly based on a fundamental belief that wage and sick time mandates are state issues that should be legislated only at that level. The Cook County ordinances apply to the private sector, not local government or unionized jobs.
“Trustees realized that to add another layer to being a small-business owner would not give owners more leeway in fighting to stay open,” Yusim said. “This would be just another burden.”
Organizations in this Story
Cook County • Family Pantry • J & J Cleaners • John Millen Ace Hardware • Ted's Tailors and Cleaners • Village of Wilmette • Village of Wilmette Board of Trustees • WILMETTE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • Wilmette Theatre • Wilmette Village Hall