Illinois' minimum wage workers have a friend in Governor Pat Quinn. He says workers should be treated fairly and get the pay they deserve.
"Those opposed say a government-mandated increase would be an artificial increase and one that might not truly be deserved."
But, Quinn says full-time minimum wage workers and their families are living in poverty, earning about $16,600/year, well below the federal poverty threshold for a family of four.
"There are other opportunities if you're not satisfied with a minimum wage job, which I'd hope no one is. You know, if you're looking for a career, then you need to get additional skills."
Groups like the state's Chamber of Commerce and Retail Merchant Association say minimum wage is not meant to be a living wage. They argue those jobs are meant to provide basic skills, not a career path.
"Say the fast food restaurant is a good example. There are opportunities typically in those types of organizations, your larger organizations where you can become an assistant manager, manager, and if you do a good job, you're on time for work, you're dependable and you have done the type of training that they're looking for you to do, then you have opportunities to advance in those jobs."
Still, the governor says some extra income will typically be spent at local businesses on food, clothing and furniture, but others believe it could shut businesses down.
"They won't hire as many people. They'll have to let some people go, or worse, they'll have to continue to reduce the number of hours people can work."
Currently, the federal rate is $7.25/hour. The governor's plan would raise the state's minimum wage over the next four years.
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