Chicago City Council raises hourly minimum wage

Chicago hikes its minimum wage

Chicago on Tuesday joined Washington D.C., San Francisco, Seattle and a number of other major cities in passing legislation to raise the minimum wage beyond the current federal level of $7.25 an hour. Proponents of a minimum wage increase said it would be a life-changing boon for low-income working families, young people and other low-wage workers. Opponents said the measure would send businesses fleeing to cities where labor costs are lower. Chicago aldermen voted overwhelmingly in favor of raising the city’s $8.25 minimum wage to $13 over the next five years during a special City Council meeting called by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Only five of the city’s 50 alderman voted no.

Chicago’s black unemployment rate higher than other large metro areas

With 25 percent of its African-American residents jobless, Chicago has the highest black unemployment rate among the nation’s five most populous cities. Chicago’s rate is higher than Philadelphia’s 19 percent, Los Angeles’ 18 percent, Houston’s 15 percent and New York City’s 14 percent, based on 2013 U.S. Census figures. Why? Experts point to Chicago’s unique brand of residential segregation, among other factors.  Almost 75 percent of black Chicagoans live in a community that’s at least 90 percent black, according to Census data. Blacks are about one-third of Chicago’s population.

Indictments, convictions of police officers in civilian deaths rare

Based on history, even if Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson is indicted in the shooting death of Michael Brown, getting a conviction would seem unlikely. The National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project tracked cases of alleged police misconduct between April 2009 and December 2010. The project, an initiative of the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank, found that of 2,716 officers accused of using excessive force, only about 200 were charged and 77 were convicted. About 30 of the nearly 430 officers accused of killing a person using excessive force were charged. Only half were convicted.