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Glenview pushes minimum wage, paid sick leave discussion to next week

Tuesday, January 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune
by Alexandra Kukulka

Glenview pushes minimum wage, paid sick leave discussion to next week

Citing absent trustees, the Glenview Board of Trustees Jan. 3 postponed its discussion of the Cook County minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinances to its next meeting

Village President Jim Patterson said the discussion of opting into the ordinances will be continued to Jan. 15 because only four trustees, including Patterson, were present at the meeting. Trustees Philip White and Karim Khoja were absent, and there is a vacant seat on the board.

Ordinances need four votes to pass, and with only four trustees present, the vote “would not allow for a difference of opinion,” Patterson said.

Village staff is recommending that the board approve ordinances to apply the Cook County minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinances in Glenview effective July 1, 2020, “until such time that the State of Illinois may amend” the Illinois minimum wage law and employee sick leave act, according to a report attached to the Jan. 3 meeting agenda.

In 2016, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance that would increase minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2020 and an ordinance that would allow employees to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, with a maximum of five days a year of paid sick leave.

Glenview “was able to determine its own course of action” as a home-rule municipality, Patterson said at a previous meeting. In June 2017, the board vote to opt out of both ordinances.

The board decided to revisit that move in light of the results of advisory referenda that were placed on the ballot Nov. 6, he said.

Cook County voters were asked if the municipality they live in should match the $13 per hour Cook County minimum wage law for adults over the age of 18 by July 1, 2020, and then be indexed to the consumer price index after that.

Voters were also asked if the municipality they live in should match Cook County earned sick time law, which allows for workers to earn up to 40 hours of sick time a year to take care of their own health or a family member’s health.

In Glenview, approximately 76 percent of residents supported the minimum wage referendum, while approximately 82 percent of Glenview residents supported the paid sick leave ordinance.

The board first discussed the potential of opting back into the Cook County ordinances at its Dec. 4, 2018 meeting, and directed staff to draft an ordinance with some elements of the Cook County paid sick leave and minimum wage ordinances.

Trustee Deborah Karton said in December that she can support the paid sick leave ordinance. She would support opting into the minimum wage ordinance effective July 1, 2020, but with the hope that the state legislature will take action before then and without the condition of increasing minimum wage with the Consumer Price Index as stated in the advisory referenda, Karton previously said.

“My struggle with this is that doing piecemeal legislation isn’t good legislation,” Karton previously said. “Hopefully the state will come in and preempt us … and we then can be part of the state. That’s the most important part. That’s where we will get competition, state by state and not community by community.”

Though staff did not make a presentation on the ordinances at the Jan. 3 meeting, Patterson allowed for public comment and 27 residents addressed the board.

A large majority of those who spoke supported opting into the Cook County ordinances, stating that workers should make a living wage. Supporters also stated that workers should be able to stay home when sick, or with a sick relative, instead of coming to work sick because they need the money.

Resident Mary Johnson said she is a social worker and works with people who make just enough to not qualify for public aid “but they don’t make enough that they can function well on their own and with their families.”

“We’re not talking about an increase that’s going to make (low wage workers) rich,” Johnson said. “We’re here … because we should care about (low wage workers).”

Resident Jeff Green reminded the board that Glenview residents supported the two advisory referenda. Green said governments have a critical role in protecting the rights of citizens.

At the December 2018 board meeting, business owners said they wouldn’t be able to afford to increase wages and would have to leave Glenview “two tough love responses,” Green said.

“If the profitability of your business model is dependent on paying wages your employees can’t live on, perhaps you need to tweak your business model,” Green said.

Karen Patterson, president of the Glenview Chamber of Commerce, said it is likely that the state will adopt a law similar to the Cook County ordinances before July 1, 2020.

“For this reason, the chamber appreciates the potential effective date of July 1, 2020 for the proposed village ordinance, which allows time for this to become a state-wide action,” Patterson said.

The handful of Glenview business owners that addressed the board asked the trustees to wait until the state takes action to minimize competition between communities.

Mary Venezia, of Johnny’s Kitchen and Tap, said her employees make more than minimum wage and that it is important to “level the playing field” between communities.

John Weiss, the owner of Ace Hardware in Glenview, said he views minimum wage as an entry level wage, not a wage for someone to make a living.

“We have treated our employees well over the years,” Weiss said.

akukulka@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @AKukulka11

 

 



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