CCH supports jobs initiatives that create living wage employment for low-wage workers.
In 2015, CCH continues to partner in the Fight for $15 Chicago, in a national movement to raise hourly wages for fast food and retail workers to $15 an hour. Senior Organizer Dollie Brewer helps mobilize low-wage workers who are homeless and at-risk. In 2014, the city of Chicago reported that 13% of shelter residents were employed. This data did not include the share of homeless workers who must live doubled-up with others (per the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 2014 report).
Our Jobs Project partnered with Raise Illinois in 2014, a statewide campaign to increase the Illinois minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, up from the $8.25 rate set five years ago, in July 2010. Yet state leaders failed to enact a $10 wage, despite overwhelming endorsement by Illinois voters, with more than 87.8% of Chicago voters and 66.4% statewide endorsing the increase in November 2014 advisory referendum.
But city of Chicago leaders acted, adopting staggered minimum wage increases that will up the hourly wage to $13 by 2019. For those employed in Chicago, the first increase is a $10 wage that became effective July 1, 2015.
In 2010, the CCH Jobs Project proposed and helped design Put Illinois to Work, a subsidized state-run program that employed more than 27,300 people over nine months. Funded with federal stimulus and state grants, Put Illinois to Work was developed by CCH in partnership with several state and non-profit agencies, including the Illinois Department of Human Services.
CCH proposed Put Illinois to Work based on a national model it had advocated in partnership with the Center for Community Change in Washington, D.C. Put Illinois to Work employed low-income parents and youth in $10-an-hour jobs for 30 to 40 hours per week.
For more information about the Jobs Project, contact Community Organizer Jim Picchetti (312) 641-4140.
Photo by Betsy Neely, Avalanche in B Photography