"Hey, hey! Ho, ho! This poverty wage has got to go!"
It was one of many rally chants of about 100 workers and activists who gathered outside Oak Park Village Hall Monday evening calling for an ordinance in Oak Park to set a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
Activists across the country have pushed for a $15 minimum wage, and organizers Monday said Oak Park should set an example for the rest of the Chicago metropolitan area.
Anthony Kemp, a cook at KFC in Oak Park, told the crowd that gathered in front of the McDonald's across the street from village hall that his hourly wage of $8.25 "just isn't good enough."
"Now is the time to get our fair dues," Kemp said, noting that New York state, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles have instituted a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
Following the rally, activists moved to village hall to ask the board of trustees to approve a proposed ordinance that would institute what they say is a living wage.
Oak Park economist Ron Baiman noted that 60 percent of the village voted in favor of increasing the minimum wage in an advisory referendum in 2008, but trustees did not support the change.
He criticized the village for handing out a $1.5 million subsidy to entice Pete's Fresh Market grocery store to open recently in the village, while the store pays some of its employees less than the $15-an-hour wage activists seek.
"This is a moral tragedy," he said.
Activists encouraged participants to join them in Chicago on Nov. 10 for a Fight for $15 rally that aims to attract 10,000 people.