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Chicago City Council Approves Minimum Wage Hike Amidst Some Restaurant and Alderman Objection

Will the hike affect the Chicago restaurant industry?

Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock

Today at City Hall, a special City Council assembly overwhelmingly approved a large hike that will raise the city minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $13 an hour by 2019. The minimum wage for tipped employees will rise from $4.95 to $5.95.

Some higher-ups in the restaurant industry and aldermen loudly objected the move, believing that the hike will cause restaurant owners to raise prices and hire less employees, which would negatively affect the restaurant industry in Chicago.

In the assembly, Alderman Tom Tunney (44th) opined, "how do you go from $8.25 [an-hour] to $13 overnight? You know what you do? You raise the prices and you've also got to find ways to do it with less help," according to the Sun-Times. Tunney owns the Ann Sather restaurants.

ABC7 quotes Sam Toia of the Illinois Restaurant Association as saying "this ordinance will hit Chicago workers with a double whammy. Fewer jobs will be available and there will be more competition for those jobs from suburban residents."

And the owner of Original Rainbow Cone pleaded to the council yesterday not to raise the minimum wage, DNAinfo reports, saying the iconic ice cream stand might cut the number of students it employs in the summer in half, and maybe even move to Evergreen Park.

Now that the vote has passed, Chicago workers will soon see much-deserved higher wages. How will restaurant owners react over time?

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