Chicago Members Gather in Lawndale to Register Voters & Push for a Minimum Wage Increase


Reyna Rundberg and Ernestina Avila (2)On Saturday, June 14, home care workers, child care providers, hospital and nursing home workers gathered in Lawndale at the Grace Memorial Baptist Church to kick off a summer of planned activities around registering new voters and winning an increase to the minimum wage. A training on how to register new voters preceded a speak-out session where two home care workers shared their personal stories of struggling to get by on $11.85/hour – illustrating that our current minimum wage of $8.25 simply cannot support an adult, much less a family.

Melody Benjamin, a home care provider from Chicago’s west side, brought along her budget to share the tough decisions she faces every month, choosing which bills to pay while still keeping food on the table and a roof over her head.

“I support an increase to the minimum wage because I look around my community and see my neighbors are struggling just like me. Our neighborhood is plagued with crime and violence, and I think the first step to addressing these issues is ensuring there are living wage jobs available that people can support a family on,” explained Benjamin.

OJ McGee, a home care worker and CNA, also spoke out for the need to win a higher minimum wage.OJ and Melody

“I’m a single dad trying to raise my son the best that I can. I have to work multiple jobs to get by because wages are so low. If we can raise the wage for those at the bottom, we will all be better off,” said McGee.

Members spent the rest of the afternoon registering new voters and getting commitments from registered voters to turn out and support a minimum wage increase this fall on the ballot.

As we mobilize around the state level increase, we are also keeping the pressure on in Chicago to win a $15 an hour minimum wage for those employed by corporations earning more than $50 million a year in profit.

“We’re voting for $10, and fighting for $15!” exclaimed Melody Benjamin. Check out this video message with more of what Melody had to say here. 

Check out video testimony from OJ McGee here.

Stay tuned for upcoming voter registration and minimum wage events in your area – we’ve got a summer full of action planned!