The Oak Park Board of Trustees has called an emergency meeting set for Friday, June 30, at 5 p.m. at Village Hall to temporarily opt out of Cook County’s minimum wage hike until the board can further discuss the issue on July 10.
The special meeting on Friday will temporarily halt a county imposed minimum wage increase and sick time pay ordinance that is set to take effect a few hours later.
The meeting comes at the request of the Oak Park business community, which also is asking the village for an additional 90-day opt-out to give the board more time to consider the issue.
“The village is sensitive to calling a special meeting on a Friday evening; therefore this action only sets the date for Village Board discussion of the request by the business community and opts out of the Cook County Ordinance until July 11, 2017,” a village memo states. “During the meeting on July 10, 2017, the village board will discuss the request by the local business community to opt out of the Cook County ordinances for 90-days.”
The county minimum ordinance boosts the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10 an hour this year and one dollar each additional year until it reaches $13 in 2020. The county ordinance also requires employers to provide paid sick leave equaling one hour for every 40 hours worked.
The special meeting and 90-day opt-out proposals were made at the request of 30 business owners and officials and facilitated by the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce. The group penned a letter to the board of trustees on June 28, the same day the special meeting was called.
“We appreciate that this has been a grueling few weeks for everyone, forcing us to pit our values as a community against the economic realities of that same community,” the letter reads. “The many conversations we all have been having with business owners and residents alike lead us to one conclusion. We do not yet have the facts as to the real impact these laws will have on our community.”
The group proposes that the village spend the next 90 days engaging in a more thoughtful review of the county wage hike.
“Within that that time period, our community will have the opportunity to present testimony, review data relevant to our community and perhaps even present alternatives for your consideration,” the letter states.
The letter requests a decision by Sept. 1. If the board of trustees allows the wage hike to take effect, it would do on Oct. 1, according to the group’s request.
“The 60-day study period and 90-day waiting period will give us time as a community to make an informed choice,” the letter states.
Meanwhile, the city of Evanston has announced it also is holding an emergency meeting on Friday to consider opting out of the minimum wage ordinance and sick leave ordinance, according to the news website Evanston Now.
Evanston Now reports that the proposed ordinance also would “temporarily block the increase until the City Council could have a more extensive debate on the minimum wage issue at its next regular meeting on Monday, July 10.”
* This story was updated to include information reported by Evanston Now.