Hundreds rally for minimum wage increase

By Alex Davis |

Published 02/26 2014 05:01PM

Updated 02/26 2014 05:30PM

ILLINOIS -- Hundreds of workers made their voices heard Wednesday. WCIA-3's Alex Davis keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

They're pushing for a minimum wage increase of $2.75. It's currently $8.25 in Illinois. They want it to go up to $11/hour.

"I'm just as important as everyone else. I'm just trying to make my way the same as everyone else."

It's a story many can relate to.

"I try so hard to make everything meet up and it just doesn't add up always."

Rachel Bitten Bender is a 25-yera old fast food worker. She works at Subway, nearly 40 hours a week, but she says the $8.25/hour wage she earns isn't enough. She hasn't been able to move out of her mom's house.

"Living expenses have gone up, gas has gone up, the price for food, but minimum wage hasn't changed."

Bender is among hundreds rallying at the Capitol urging lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to $11/hour.

"We're here to fight for it."

Joining the push is the AFL-CIO.

"These corporations make millions and billions and they're making that money because they're paying you a very low minimum wage and it's time for that to change."

Right now, there are two bills circulating in the State House which would raise minimum wage.

"We're not asking for a handout. We're asking for a hand up. We work, we deserve to be paid a living, fair wage."

Long-standing opponents to raising the minimum wage say it will kill jobs and force business owners to look for more skilled candidates. They add, the minimum wage is not meant to be a living wage. If you do the math, working 40 hours per week at $11/hour comes out to under $23,000 a year.

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