Oak Park trustee living wage supporters, please act now to pass an Oak Park Living Wage Ordinance.
For roughly 10 years now, a broad coalition of Oak Parkers has been working to enact an Oak Park Living Wage Ordinance. In 2008, 60% of Oak Park voters (94% of precincts) supported a living wage in an advisory referendum. The village board referred the proposed LWO to the Community Relations Commission (CRC). After 13 months of study, and multiple public hearings, the commission recommended passage by a vote of 7 to 2.
However, in an infamous July 2010, 4-3 vote, the Oak Park Board of Trustees rejected the LWO. They accepted the CRC report but stripped out the supportive recommendation.
After the April 2013 elections, our coalition solicited support on the new board for an Oak Park LWO. Among current board members, Colette Lueck, Glenn Brewer Adam Salzman and Robert Tucker have assured us of their support for putting the LWO on the board agenda. After we confirmed that we had majority support on the board, we tried to find out when an Oak Park LWO would be acted on. On Feb. 21, 2013, the secretary to the village manager informed us that:
"In speaking with the village manager, based on our internal list, she anticipates this will be on an upcoming board agenda in June or July. Please keep in mind that this is a 'moving list,' but she plans to give advance notice when the date is set. Please let me know if you have any additional questions."
However, despite numerous reminders and requests over the past 15 months, no formal action has been taken. We find it exceedingly hard to understand why the board appears to have plenty of time for all kinds of local business development initiatives, but in the course of 10 years cannot find the will to act on a principled ordinance that the residents of Oak Park, and the volunteer CRC after 13 months of study, have asked them to implement.
We urge the board to please pass an Oak Park Living Wage Ordinance now without further delay. It is hard to imagine an issue that more closely represents the spirit of tolerance, progressivity, and racial, ethnic, sexual, and economic diversity, that lies at the core of Oak Park's identity, and that is more politically relevant during these times of growing inequality and unemployment.