Chicago has become the first US city to mandate that tipped workers make at least full minimum wage.
Tipped workers are an exception to US minimum wage laws and often receive a fraction of that amount for their hourly wage. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Windy City has become the first to eliminate that exception, requiring tipped workers make at least the minimum wage.
”The ordinance embodies Chicago’s values of uplifting working people and addressing systemic inequities in the restaurant and hospitality industry, which, in turn, will create a better economic future for tipped workers and our city,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “Many of the people who are standing in support with us today, these are heads of households and anchors of communities who are finally receiving a bit more of the respect and dignity that they deserve.”
The move has been a controversial one, with opponents saying it will prohibitively drive up labor costs for small business, or cause people to stop tipping as much in response.
“The sky maybe is going to fall in when we pass this ordinance, but the sky didn’t fall in when we fought for and won a $15 minimum wage,” said Alderman Daniel La Spata. He went on to list other pro-labor ordinances that critics warned would be catastrophic. “The sky keeps on not falling. … Somehow I have a feeling that the sky is not going to fall today either.”