SPRINGFIELD-Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley following passage today in the Illinois House of Representatives of Senate Bill 81, to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2022:
"While corporations are enjoying record profits, workers in Illinois are suffering. Today, the House of Representatives took a historic step to reversing this course and building our economy from the bottom-up, instead of placing our faith in the misguided hope that prosperity will trickle down.
"Senate Bill 81 represents a major advance for Illinois and is the answer to so many of the pressing questions facing our state. Growing inequality. Revenue problems and the related cuts to services. Population loss. The manufactured budget crisis. On behalf of our workers, I congratulate the representatives who chose to act boldly for our future.
"Opponents of raising the wage during today's debate used the same old stale and discredited scare claims about automation and job loss. But we know, as our allies do, that nonpartisan, peer-reviewed research shows that raising the wage does NOT lead to significant relocation or unemployment. Its MAIN effect is giving workers a living wage.
"Now, as the legislative session comes to a close, we ask our allies in the Senate to pass this legislation that will help 2.3 million workers, grow our economy and give Illinois a much-needed raise."