A Message from Chamber President

A Message from Chamber President

Later this month, at its May 23 meeting, Northbrook’s Village Board will consider opting out of Cook County ordinances that will increase the minimum wage over the next 3 years by 58% – from its current rate of $8.25 to $13 in 2020 and require businesses to provide paid sick time for all workers — both full and part time — based on its formula of one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Unless the Village decides to opt out of these ordinances, as other municipalities have, including Barrington, Mt. Prospect, Oak Forest, Rosemont, Tinley Park and River Forest, the law will go into effect in less than two months – on July 1st.

In December, the Chamber Board of Directors voted unanimously to send a letter urging the Village to use its authority to opt out, stating that it would put businesses in Northbrook at a distinct disadvantage with its competitors right across the street in Lake County, not to mention with even those neighbor towns in Cook County who have opted out. The Village’s advisory commission ICDC recently concurred and communicated a similar message.

Since having made the Chamber’s concerns public, I have heard from many businesses that are fearful over the impact of these County imposed mandates, particularly those in the retail and hospitality sector, home health care, and light industry. Universally, they recognize the importance of fair work place practices, but don’t feel they can absorb the significant increase in labor costs. The retailers have commented that they will have to figure out how to meet the needs of their customers with fewer employees. Other business owners have indicated a willingness to relocate to a more friendly environment. The Chamber’s mission is to grow and retain the business community. A level playing field is critical to accomplishing that goal and is why we have urged our Village leaders to opt out of the ordinances.

While the Chamber’s position is valued by our Village leaders, it’s only a first step. They need and want to hear from businesses who will be the ones directly affected by these mandates. If you want to voice your views or if you are at all hesitant about not having all the facts in this matter, please contact me personally. I will provide you with copies of the ordinance and help you find ways to communicate your position. I know it’s never easy to speak up in a politically charged debate, but your experiences and your input is critical right now and will make a difference.

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