CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement on the anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the landmark law on June 25, 1938, which banned oppressive child labor, set a maximum hourly workweek and established the nation’s first minimum wage at 25 cents an hour. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, it would be at $10.75 today.
“When President Roosevelt signed the Wages and Hours Bill into law, he gave workers benefits and protections that no other country had seen before, and put Americans on a path toward a fair standard of living.
“What was landmark legislation then is common-sense today. We know that children shouldn’t be abused and forced to work. We know there should be limits on how many hours a week someone works. And we know that no one should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty.
“If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation it would be $10.75 today. Raising the minimum wage is good for workers and good for growth. It puts purchasing power back into the hands of hardworking Americans, helps reduce poverty and strengthens the economy.
"As we work to build a majority to raise the minimum wage in Illinois, let's remember this is about dignity and decency.
“The hardworking people of our state deserve the opportunity to earn a decent living. Building an economy that works for everyone makes our state stronger and more competitive, not the other way around.”
Governor Quinn first proposed raising the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour in his 2013 State of the State address. Studies conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago show that an increase of $1 in the minimum wage generates approximately $3,000 in household spending per year, greatly improving purchasing power and strengthening our economy. Six out of every 10 minimum wage workers are female, including many single parents. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of small business owners support raising the federal minimum wage because they believe it will help the economy and in turn enable them to hire more workers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Small Business Majority.