Minimum wage workers protest nationwide, pleading for hikes at federal, state and local levels. Businesses fear potential harm from such a mandate, predicting layoffs and higher prices. In Chicago, some aldermen sought a $15 minimum; a city panel held hearings and proposed $13 by 2018, a plan Mayor Rahm Emanuel has embraced. In Illinois, the debate goes to voters on the Nov. 4 ballot with a nonbinding referendum seeking support for a hike to $10 from $8.25 per hour. As the issue comes to a head, the Chicago Sun-Times talks to area low-wage workers and small business owners. In a series of stories in coming months, we bring you their stories.