Cook County commissioners voted to place a referendum on the November General Election ballot asking residents if the minimum wage “in your municipality” be should be raised to meet the county ordinance of $13 per hour by year 2020.
After commissioners adopted an ordinance in 2016 to raise the minimum wage, Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison (R-17th) said 109 of 125 eligible communities used their home rule authority to pass ordinances opting out of abiding by the county law, before it took effect in July 2017.
Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-13th), who sponsored the original legislation, brought back the advisory referendum for the county minimum wage and sick time ordinances, so voters and leaders in local communities could see how their residents feel about the issue.
The advisory minimum wage referendum reads: “Shall the minimum wage in your municipality match the $13 per hour Cook County minimum wage law for adults over the age of 18 by July 1, 2020, and be indexed to the consumer price index after that?”
The earned sick time advisory referendum reads: “Shall your municipality match the Cook County earned sick time law which allows for workers to earn up to 40 hours (5 days) of sick time a year to take care of their own health or a family member’s health?”
The two measures passed on a voice vote with commissioners Morrison, Gregg Goslin (R-14th) and Peter Silvestri (R-9th) voting “no” on the sick time referendum question. Morrison and Goslin were also the two “no” votes on the minimum wage referendum question. Silvestri was the lone “present” vote on minimum wage.
Before the vote, several commissioners rushed to be listed as co-sponsors of the referendum measures with Suffredin.
Morrison argued the state should be the entity that raises the minimum wage. Because of communities opting out of the county wage hike through home rule ordinances, thereby observing only state and federal laws, a patchwork of communities with differing laws took shape.
Local municipalities which have adopted ordinances using home rule authority to be exempted from the county minimum wage and sick time ordinances include: Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Glenview, Mount Prospect, Niles, Park Ridge, Palatine, Prospect Heights, Rosemont, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling.