Peoria Public Radio Staff
Wed February 26, 2014
Hundreds rally in Springfield on minimum wage
"We can't survive on $8.25, We can't survive on $8.25" *fades under*
A coalition of unions and activist groups lobbied lawmakers and shared their stories of life on minimum wage. Rachel Bittenbender is a 25-year-old earning eight dollars and twenty five cents an hour. She works just shy of full-time at a fast food restaurant in Dixon -- near Rockford. "After I pay my bills? That's about it. I have a little bit aside to help with some groceries...and then get my car with some gas if I need it for that week." If the minimum wage were to be raised, Bittenbender says she'd go back to school — she wants to become an English professor someday. She's been working full-time for minimum wage since she dropped out of school to take care of her ailing mother.
Democrats like Kim Lightford have been pushing to raise the state minimum to at least 10 dollars an hour. The Senator from Maywood, cheered on the ralliers: "We're not asking for a handout, we work. We work." *fades under "And we deserve to be paid a living, fair wage."* Republicans and business groups counter that raising the wage would hurt small business and drive unemployment.