Governor Pat Quinn, Senator Dick Durbin push for minimum wage hike

March 31, 2014 (CHICAGO)

As Republicans use 'Obamacare' as an issue this mid-term election year, Democrats are trying to change the narrative with their fight to raise the minimum wage.

Governor Pat Quinn and Senator Dick Durbin were featured when a coast to coast bus tour advocating a $10.10 an hour minimum wage stopped at Federal Plaza.

''If you work 40 hours a week and you work hard, you shouldn't have to live in poverty,'' Quinn said.

Chicago's Nancy Salgado is a fast food worker who said she's been stuck at the current minimum wage for 12 years.

''And I'm still on poverty wage. Yes, poverty wage, $8.25. Is that fair? It's not fair,'' Salgado said.

The bus arrived in Chicago on Monday morning and had scheduled stops in Rockford and Milwaukee later in the day.

The bus was trailed by a mobile billboard paid for by the Washington-based Employment Policies Institute, which opposes a minimum wage increase.

"When you raise the minimum wage, a new government report confirms that up to one million jobs will disappear,'' says a new ad.

EPI spokesman Michael Saltsman said that Democrats across the country are using the issue to put Republican candidates on the spot.

''The minimum wage has kind of become a pretty big component of the election year push for the Democratic Party, and a lot of the folks who support them,'' Saltsman said.

Senator Durbin defended the strategy to force votes on controversial issues in the republican-controlled house.

''I was elected to do something, to address the problems of this country and this state and If we have a House of Representatives, which says no to immigration reform, no to minimum wage, no to unemployment benefits, then ultimately the voters make their choice,'' Durbin said.

Senator Durbin headed back to Washington, where he says Democrats will need at least some Republican support to pass the wage hike in the Senate.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25, the Illinois state minimum wage is $8.25.

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