Monthly Archives: February 2019

Chicago, IL and Minimum Wage: It’s Just Geography

Workers in Chicago – or those moving to the city – will be pleased to know that minimum wage is far from minimum.  While the state of Illinois has been stuck at $8.25 for the last 9 years, this year Chicago pushed its minimum wage up to $13! 

So how is this fact affecting the rest of the state of Illinois?  It seems it does not want to bow to pressure.  according to CEO and President of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Rob Karr, Illinois should not be dictated to by Chicago.  At a recent meeting held by the Senate Labor Committee, Karr said:


“It’s something we all need to look at when we’re talking about … the economic diversity of this state and the fact that, the suburbs and downstate simply don’t enjoy the same economics [as Chicago].”

The argument that raising the minimum wage leads to less employment opportunities has largely been disproved, particularly within Chicago.  With the raise of the minimum wage in Chicago (a hike of 40 percent) unemployment in the windy city actually reached an all-time low of 3.6 percent!  indeed, in 2018 Chicago’s drop in unemployment was the highest out of America’s largest 10 cities.  Plus, an additional 72,000 jobs arrived in Chicago, causing it to have more jobs per capita than in the last 50 years.

Ford put a billion dollar investment into Chicago last week adding 500 manufacturing jobs while North Point also announced the creation of 1,300 new jobs. 

Raising the minimum wage is important.  Chicago has shown that it works too.

Black Restaurant Week 2019: Chicago

This year’s Black Restaurant Week (Chicago) took place last week, February 10-17.  In its fourth year, the event is designed to honor Dr. Carter G. Woodson who founded ‘Negro History Week’ back in 1926.  Half a century later that event became Black History Month and that finally led to the current restaurant week.

The idea behind the event was to establish an address for Chicago-based African American Owned Eateries to be “recognized and patronized.”

Last year the event featured 26 restaurants, whereby $11402 was spent at restaurants and 726 dinners served. The lineup for this year is featured here.

Chicagoans Helping Each Other

How is America’s longest-ever government shutdown impacting Chicagoans?  What are people doing to lessen the burden felt by locals?  In this article, we look at that specific issue as well as the more general problem of the city’s homeless population.

Companies in Chicago are helping people out by giving free lunches, tickets to the museum and even temporary employment.  Getting a free sandwich at the Adler Planetarium doesn’t pay the bills but it’s a nice gesture to help people get through their day. Meanwhile at Horse Thief Hollow – a restaurant catering to federal workers at Midway Airport – is featuring a shutdown special with a free lunch valued up to $15.

Meanwhile 34-year-old real estate developer Candice Payne decided to help the homeless.  Payne – whose own boyfriend was once homeless – was working from home one day when outside temperature was subzero.  That inspired her to find a way to help out.

She set out by contacting hotels to see if they would open their doors to the homeless.  After being turned down by many, she accessed 30 rooms at The Amber Inn.  Transporting the homeless there proved to be her next challenge so she turned to social media.  The post went viral and the end result was 72 rooms for 5 nights being booked, assisting 122 people thanks to numerous donations. 

They say one good deed deserves another so perhaps that was why Payne was invited to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres show where she received a $25,000 gift token for Walmart.

Improving the Plight of Minorities

For centuries people have been working in different capacities, in varied cities and countries, to improve the environment of where they are for the minorities living in them.  2019 and Chicago is apparently very less different than one would imagine.  here we take a little look as to what the city is doing currently in this vein.

according to The Reader’s, Pete Saunders:

“Chicago’s black population, the city’s largest demographic in 2000, has dropped by 24 percent through 2017, going from more than one million in 2000 to just under 800,000 in 2017. The number of whites in Chicago surpassed blacks in 2017, and Latinos will almost certainly pass blacks by the time of the 2020 census.”

Why is that?  Why are blacks leaving Chicago?  if this was not the case, the population of Chicago would actually be increasing. instead, there seems to be a move to places such as Atlanta, Dallas and Houston.

Is there perhaps discrimination against minorities?  according to Mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle, if voted in she will “bring equity to an overly punitive ticketing policy that has unfairly targeted minority motorists and forced thousands of them into bankruptcy. one part of her proposed policy will be the reversal of what she terms a punitive policy that (according to a Woodstock Institute study)  targets motorists in “low- and moderate- income communities of color” at a 40 percent higher rate than those from more affluent neighborhoods.  she would also set up a task force within her proposed Office of Criminal Justice to thoroughly investigate “the disparities between aggressive ticketing in black and brown communities and less-aggressive ticketing in white neighborhoods.”

Educationally efforts are being made to assist minority groups too. along with a few other universities nationwide, the University of Chicago extended its application deadline.  it was discovered by George Washington University that such an extension “helped reach more underrepresented minorities. The school received an additional 600 applications from African-American, Hispanic and first-generation college students after extending its deadline to Jan. 15 from Jan. 5.”  Hopefully the same will be true for Chicagoans.