The Chicago City Council voted on Tuesday to gradually increase the minimum wage in the nation's third largest city to $13 an hour by 2019, approving a proposal by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Emanuel's measure to boost the minimum wage from the current $8.25 an hour follows similar actions by Seattle, San Francisco and other cities.
"We want to make sure people can afford to live here," Emanuel said after the vote on the increase, which was opposed by business groups.
The mayor sought approval for his minimum wage proposal now to get ahead of state lawmakers, who could vote to raise the hourly minimum to $10, according to Crain's Chicago Business. A state law could prevent cities from passing higher wage increases.
Emanuel's support of the increase could help him counter challengers in his re-election bid, who claim that he favors business interests over working people. The mayoral election is in February.
The ordinance will affect more than 400,000 workers in the city and add some $800 million to the Chicago economy, according to a mayoral panel appointed to study the issue.
Grassroots Illinois Action applauded the increase but said it would continue to fight for a $15 minimum wage, which had been proposed by some of Chicago's Aldermen.
"Chicagoans know that an increase to $13 over five years is not enough," the group said in a statement.
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and its Illinois counterpart have opposed the increase, saying the state already has a higher minimum wage than that of neighboring states but has lagged in the economic recovery.
"Raising the minimum wage has not proven to reduce poverty or narrow the income gap and puts a stranglehold on Illinois' top job creators: small businesses," the Illinois Chamber of Commerce said in a statement after the vote.
Chicago's minimum wage will rise to $10 by mid-year 2015, to $11 by 2017, and $13 by 2019.
Alderman Bob Fioretti, who will challenge Emanuel in the mayoral race, said he would continue to fight for $15 an hour, which would match the level approved in Seattle in June.
"The chant in the streets here and nationwide has been 'show me $15,' not 'show me $13 by 2019,'" Fioretti said in a statement, although he did vote for Emanuel's proposal, which had been recommended by the council's workforce development committee.
Several states have approved increases in minimum wages this year, including Michigan and Minnesota.