In fact, the tally runs at 11 incumbents on the city council who did not win outright in elections in February in Chicago, so all of them had to enter into a run off race with their main competition just yesterday. The key here is that supposedly all 11 of them were allies of Mayor Daley. Two of the aldermen have already conceded defeat—one by the name of Alderman Madeline Haithcock and another by the name of Alderman Shirley Coleman. Another alderman, Alderman Dorothy Tillman is said to have lost the race seemingly but has not conceded defeat as of yet.
It is said that all of the people who beat these incumbents are backed by labor unions in the city, who have not forgotten how the incumbents voted against the big box bill. For instance, Coleman had initially voted for the big box bill, but then when the veto override came around, she did not vote against the mayor. Instead, she sided with Mayor Daley and voted against overriding his veto. Haithcock and Tillman had also thrown in their votes for not overriding the veto and for not passing the big box bill.
Of course, some people who had voted against the big box law also have won their elections in the Chicago city council run off. So that does not mean it is a tried and true law that all people who voted against the big box bill got beat. For instance, Howard Brookins and Bernard Stone had noth voted completely against the living wage bill, and both of them beat their competitors.
So will this mean that the labor unions will again push for a run of the big box bill. Perhaps, but no one is saying that outright. But you would think so, considering that they lost the vote by three counts last time, and now that the election went through, they picked up three votes.
A few months back we talked about a new law trying to get passed through the Chicago city council that would have created a living wage for those so called “big box” retailers—the likes of the Targets, Wal-Marts, Best Buys, Circuit Cities, and other monster stores that get that nickname because their architecture, well, generally just resembles the big boxes that their big products usually come packaged in.
The big box bill actually got passed in the Chicago city council, and looked like it was on its way to becoming the law of the land off of Lake Michigan, but then the mayor of the city, Mayor Richard Daley, vetoed the legislation and would not let it pass his desk. The city council then tried to override his veto, but they failed by just a few handfuls of votes on the council. In fact, the override against Daley’s wishes fell short by only three votes. (If this sounds familiar to what is going on in Washington DC with the federal minimum wage bill, then you are right, except for the reasons for the mayor’s veto.)
The mayor had sides with those big retailers, who said that such a living wage law targeted at one type of employer would have been unfair and would have actually led to those retailers opening few stores in the city and instead going to the suburbs such as Schaumburg to open their new big boxes, with all their new jobs and tax revenue opportunities.
Well, that law might not be completely dead in the water. Chicago recently had an election for many of its incumbent seats on the city council, and several of these elder aldermen actually got bumped off in the electoral process. One source I have heard from says that the reason for some of their losses is because the unions organized voters against them, based on how they voted on this big box bill.
The Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003 prohibits employers with four or more employees from paying unequal wages to men and women for doing the same or substantially similar work, requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility, under similar working conditions for the same employer in the same county. The only exceptions are if the differences are based on:
A seniority system
A merit system,
A system measuring earnings by quantity or quality of production, or
Any difference based on factors other than gender.
Only wage discrimination based on gender is covered under the Act. Discrimination based upon factors other than gender is covered under the Illinois Human Rights Act.
Employers must post a notice in their workplace summarizing the requirements under the Act. The Illinois Complete Labor Law poster is available detailing all of teh current labor laws including equal pay for equal work. Employers must also make and preserve records that document the name, address, and occupation of each employee, the wages paid to each employee, and any other information the state may deem necessary and appropriate. Employers must preserve such records for at least three years.
Employers are prohibited from remedying violations of this Act by reducing wages of other employees. Employers are also prohibited from discharging or otherwise discriminating against any individual because the individual:
Has filed any charge or has instituted any proceeding under or related to this Act;
Has given, or is about to give, any information in connection with any inquiry or proceeding relating to any right provided under this Act;
Has or will testify, in any inquiry or proceeding relating to any right provided under this Act;
Has inquired about, disclosed, compared, or otherwise discussed his/her wages or the wages of any other employee; or
Has aided or encouraged any person to exercise his or her rights under the Act.
If an employee is paid less than the wage to which he or she is entitled under the Act, the employee may recover in a civil action the entire amount of any underpayment together with interest and the costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. Employers found to be in violation of the Act may be subject to civil fines of up to $2,500 per violation.