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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:36pm
Wed Sep 14, 2016

Chicago City Council Roundup: Water & Sewer Tax Hike Passes, O'Hare Bonds Get Approved

From a new water and sewer tax to O'Hare bonds and TIFs, Progress Illinois rounds up highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:10pm
Wed Sep 7, 2016

O'Hare Contract Workers Allege 'Rampant Wage Theft' (UPDATED)

Contract workers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport are allegedly facing "rampant wage theft," and they are calling on the city and state to investigate the issue.

O'Hare workers and SEIU* Local 1 officials discussed the wage theft allegations Wednesday morning and announced filings of wage theft complaints with the Illinois Labor Department and Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

The charges include 60 Chicago minimum wage ordinance violations and 20 Illinois Labor Department violations, according to the union. 

At issue are security officers, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants and other workers who are employed by O'Hare contractors, including Universal Security, Prospect Airport Services, and Scrub, Inc. The union recently conducted a wage theft survey of about 300 contracted O'Hare workers, finding that they collectively lost $1 million in wages last year.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
10:36am
Wed Sep 7, 2016

Environmental Group Demands Action On Lead Emissions From Small Airplanes

A leading environmental group wants swift federal action on leaded aviation fuel used by small airplanes and some helicopters.

Friends of the Earth released a new report on the issue, noting that leaded aviation fuel, or "avgas," accounts for 50 percent of all airborne lead emissions.

Lead is a highly toxic metal known to adversely affect neurological development.

"While lead has been banned or limited in consumer products, building materials and automotive gasoline, no action to date has been taken to address the largest source of lead emissions into the air -- leaded aviation fuel," reads the Friends of the Earth's report, prepared by the Center for Environmental Health.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:45pm
Wed Jul 20, 2016

Chicago Aldermen Approve Property Tax Rebate, Propose Sources Of Revenue For Schools

A group of Chicago aldermen proposed a package of ordinances Wednesday to generate revenue for the city's cash-strapped public schools.

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district has a $300 million budget gap, and schools are reportedly facing a 7 percent funding cut in the upcoming academic year.

"We've received some money from the state, but it's just not enough," Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said at a press conference before the council meeting with fellow aldermen, the Chicago Teachers Union and other education advocates.

"We need to find more progressive and more viable solutions to increase revenue so that all of our schools can be adequately financed, so that we can give quality teachers an opportunity to teach in our schools," he continued. "When I had a conversation with a principal yesterday, she was perplexed that she could not hire a 20-plus year veteran school teacher because she could not afford it. That's not right."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
12:53pm
Thu Mar 31, 2016

O'Hare Baggage Handlers, Security Officers Strike Over 'Unfair Labor Practices' (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Thursday's contract workers' strike at O'Hare International Airport, which included security officers, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, custodians and wheelchair attendants. The workers held a one-day strike against "unfair labor practices."

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