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October 17, 2014

Raise Illinois coalition to launch largest early-voting campaign in state’s history to raise the minimum wage

Community Groups Plan to Knock Over 300,000 Doors During Early Voting Period

Advocates Urge All Illinoisans to Vote to Raise the Minimum Wage to Support Working Families

Saturday, October 18, at 12 noon, the Raise Illinois coalition will hold a press conference to launch a major two-week ‘get-out-the-early-vote’ initiative targeting communities of color, low-wage workers, women, and drop off voters to get them to the polls to vote to raise the minimum wage.

Raise Illinois is planning to make tens of thousands of voter contacts well before Election Day in an unprecedented early voting effort. The coalition has already collected over 170,000 voter commitment cards and identified 320,000 supporters of raising the minimum wage.   Advocates said that the “Raise Illinois ballot referendum” is nothing less than a historic opportunity for voters to send a clear message that working families urgently need a raise and simply cannot survive making $8.25 an hour, much less support a family.

When:

Saturday, October 18, 2014, at 12 noon

Where:

Outside of Cook County Board of Elections Office

(one of multiple early voting sites)

69 W. Washington, Chicago, IL 60602

What:

Press conference for Raise Illinois, a coalition of community groups, low-wage workers and families will hold a major press conference in front of the Cook County Board of Elections Office to launch the largest early voting effort in Illinois’ history to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour.

Who:

Minimum and low-wage workers and families, and Raise Illinois coalition partners, including:

Action Now

Brighton Park Neighborhood Council

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Chicago Votes

Citizen Action Illinois

The Grassroots Collaborative

ONE Northside

The People’s Lobby/SOUL

SEIU Healthcare Illinois

Sierra Club

Southwest Organizing Project

UFCW Local 1

Women Employed

Why:

The Raise Illinois coalition is planning to turn out tens of thousands of low-wage workers and families across the state to vote early starting Monday, October 20 through Sunday, November 2 to raise the minimum wage.

During the press conference, low-wage workers will speak about why it is important for working families to “vote early” and why it’s difficult, or unpredictable, to vote on Election Day, November 4 due to erratic work schedules, difficulty finding child care, long wait lines, and other logistical concerns.

Raise Illinois will also highlight a new research study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the Heartland Alliance about the dramatic economic impacts of a higher minimum wage for low-wage workers in Illinois which found that:

* One in five workers in Illinois – 1.1 million – will benefit from raising the minimum wage.

* Two-thirds of these low-wage worers, 737,000, actually survive on less than $10 an hour in Illinois.

* Raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour would mean Illinois workers together would take home almost $1.5 billion more in a year. That means $1.5 billion would be spent on basic expenses like food, gas, child care, and other necessities in small businesses across Illinois, and would jump-start our local economy.

Raise Illinois is an advocacy campaign dedicated to raising the minimum wage to support low-wage workers, families and our communities.

Press Contact: Scott Vogel, scott.vogel@seiuhcil.org

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