Serving the people of Wilmette, Illinois The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.
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Wilmette Village Board Votes to OPT-OUT of Cook County Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave:
Tuesday night, members of the LWV-W attended the Village Board meeting at which an ordinance was considered to opt-out of the Cook County Ordinances for minimum wage increases and earned paid sick leave, scheduled to take effect on July 1st. LWV policy firmly supports programs and policies to prevent or reduce poverty and to promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families. Co-president Allyson Haut read a statement on behalf of the LWV-W (click here to read LWV-W Statement) and members of the League spoke during public comment, asking the Village Board not to opt out of minimum wage and sick leave requirements and instead to act for the welfare of workers in our community.
Unfortunately, the Village Board voted 6-1 to opt out of complying with minimum wage ordinance (only Trustee Kurzman voted not to opt out) and 5-2 to opt out of complying with earned sick leave requirements (both Trustee Kurzman and Trustee Leonard voted not to opt out). As a result, employees in our Village will not benefit from the Cook County requirement of either an increase in minimum wage or the opportunity to accrue paid sick time as of July 1st.
While the LWV-W is disappointed with the outcome, we commend the Wilmette community for the interest and passion it showed on this issue. Speakers with varying opinions addressed the Board and were treated with respect at all times. Without a doubt, the Village of Wilmette modeled civil public meeting behavior on Tuesday night. We thank all the LWV-W members who wrote letters to the Village Board over the past two weeks and an added thank you to those who took the time to attend the Village Board meeting. Democracy is not a spectator sport.
The LWV-W will continue to support minimum wage increases and earned paid sick leave for workers in our Village. We trust that the Board will adhere to the stated plan to continue to study these issues in committee and have the Board reconsider in the near future.
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Remarks at the July 27, 2017 Village Board Meeting by President Allyson Haut:
My name is Allyson Haut, I live on Maple Avenue in Wilmette. I am the co-President of the League of Women Voters of Wilmette and am speaking on behalf of the League of Women Voters.
Two weeks ago, the League of Women Voters asked you to remove from the consent agenda, the Village Ordinance to opt-out of the Cook County Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Time requirements, stating that it was necessary to immediately begin the examination and discussion of this ordinance. We thank the Board for sharing with the community, via the website, materials related to this matter over the past 10 days. We know you have heard from a lot of our members, many of whom feel quite strongly about this issue, some of whom are small business owners. The League of Women Voters, as do all residents of Wilmette, expect our Trustees to give proper time and attention to decision making, through unbiased, thorough research and analysis of variables relevant to the issues and policies. The amount of time that has been devoted to a thorough study of the issues before us tonight, does not strike the League as sufficient, and we are troubled by the process that has gotten us to this point. But, of greater importance, the League of Women Voters supports programs and policies to prevent or reduce poverty and to promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families. The League unequivocally supports the Cook County minimum wage and sick leave ordinances, which were also supported by almost 70% of Wilmette voters in the 2014 and 2016 general election referenda. These ordinances must be in place to create and maintain the proper environment for the businesses, the workers and the residents of our Village, now and in the future. While many of our wonderful Wilmette businesses may already pay above current minimum wage and provide sick leave, we must guarantee this for all, now and going forward.
The League of Women Voters asks the Village of Wilmette - please do not opt out of complying with the Cook County ordinances. A living wage and earned paid sick time reflect the values of the wonderful community in which we live. Wilmette has been a leader on issues regarding the well being of the community; ordinances regarding smoking and coal tar based pavement sealants being two recent examples. Wilmette can and should be the community that is a leader among its peers on these issues. As always, we appreciate the time and effort the Trustees expend on behalf of the residents who elected you to serve, and thank you for this time tonight.