Workers in Chicago demand an increase in wages

Chicago workers rally against low wages

Thu, 25 Apr 2013 16:09:37 GMT

US retail and fast-food workers have staged a rally in the city of Chicago to demand an increase in the state’s minimum wage rate.

A coalition of labor organizations joined workers and community activists on Wednesday, in a demonstration against low wages and benefits for employees working in the US state of Illinois.

The strike was organized by the Service Employees International Union in cooperation with the “Fight for $15” campaign, which demanded a rise in the state’s minimum wage rate to USD 15 per hour. The current rate has been held at USD 8.25 since 2009.

““Fight for $15 seeks to put money back in the pockets of the 275,000 men and women who work hard in the city’s fast-food and retail outlets but still can’t afford basic necessities,” said the campaign, adding that “If workers were paid more, they’d spend more, helping to get Chicago’s economy moving again.””
On April 4, hundreds of fast-food workers in New York City staged a strike against low pay and lack of benefits, also demanding a USD 15-an-hour wage increase.

Since 2010, most jobs in the retail and fast-food industries paid USD 12 an hour or less, according a study conducted by the National Employment Law Project.

The advocacy group also found that workers who earned USD 14 to USD 21 per hour suffered the biggest losses during the recession and that hiring at that pay grade has lagged during the recovery.

The richest 7 percent of American families witnessed an average wealth increase of 28 percent from 2009 to 2011, while the remaining households lost 4 percent of their net worth over the same period, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.

The US economy shrank by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, casting doubt on the strength of economic recovery in the country.

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