Activists are continuing their push Wednesday for the Responsible Business Act in Cook County by protesting at a Walmart in Chicago.
Organizers with IIRON, ONE Northside, and National People's Action are protesting at the Walmart at 570 W. Monroe St.
Under the Responsible Business Act, introduced in October by Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele (D-Chicago), large corporations in Cook County would be required to either pay workers a living wage or a fee to help fund public services.
"Big corporations like Walmart inflate their profits by paying poverty wages. But when Walmart forces workers to rely on the social safety net to survive, they are intentionally sticking taxpayers with the tab," Pascal Brixel, chair of IIRON's Good Jobs Task Force, said in a statement. "We're saying enough is enough. The Responsible Business Act charges big corporations a fee if they refuse to pay a living wage. Corporations have a responsibility to pay people enough to make ends meet. Our social safety net should be there when families have emergencies, not to line the pockets of CEOs."
Activists say they need support from three more Cook County commissioners to pass the legislation.
"We're also asking Cook County commissioners, 'Which side are you on?'" said ONE Northside leader and fast food worker Wayne Hayer. "Will you stand up for workers and taxpayers? Or will you help allow Walmart and other multi-billion dollar corporations pad their profits by pushing the real cost of doing business onto the people of Cook County?"
Walmart has taken steps to boost its wages. Last year, company officials announced that 500,000 full- and part-time U.S. Walmart workers would see a wage hike. The hourly minimum wage for Walmart employees went up to $9 in April 2015 and hit $10 in February.
Check out Progress Illinois' past coverage of the Responsible Business Act here and here.