Despite a notice and an agenda item proclaiming that Council would consider opting out of the Cook County minimum wage ordinance, City Council members assured the audience that packed Council chambers and beyond that they remain committed to an increase in minimum wage for workers in Evanston.
This is a 180-degree turn from earlier in the week, when Mayor Steve Hagerty called the meeting so that Evanston could opt out of the County minimum-wage ordinance within the sunset, or opt-out period.
At the meeting, the Mayor and each alderman said they had heard the residents’ voices. Protestors from many organizations – including the Democratic Party of Evanston, which had endorsed Mayor Hagerty and others based in part on their word that they supported a minimum wage.
Mayor Hagerty said he had called the emergency meeting – at 10 a.m. on the Friday before the July 4 weekend – simply to engage in dialogue about how to support low-wage workers and Evanston businesses.
The meeting, held without 48-hours’ notice, was called an “emergency” meeting. It is not clear why this was termed an “emergency” since City officials have known for weeks about the Cook County Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Ordinance and the opt-out period.