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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:38pm
Wed Jul 13, 2016

Advocates Urge Gov. Rauner To Sign Illinois Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights

Illinois caregivers, housecleaners and their advocates rallied at the Thompson Center Wednesday, urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

The Illinois General Assembly approved the measure during the last legislative session and sent it to the governor on June 26.

Rauner has 60 days to take action on the legislation, which would ensure that domestic workers in Illinois are paid no less than the minimum wage, receive at least one day off a week and have protections against sexual harassment.

Magdalena Zylinska is among the 35,000 estimated domestic workers in Illinois. She's a housecleaner in Chicago who organizes domestic workers with the Arise Chicago worker center.

"Since the domestic work industry is rapidly growing, and it is a very critical part of our state, I think it is a matter of urgency for this bill to pass," she said. "Also, as domestic workers, we make all other work possible. We take care of children, aging loved ones, people living with disabilities and the homes of families. We want to be recognized as real workers, and we want to be treated with respect."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:12pm
Fri Jun 17, 2016

Former Old Country Buffet Workers Sue Over Sudden Layoffs At Chicago Restaurant

Former workers of a now-closed Old Country Buffet in Chicago are suing for back pay compensation after the restaurant abruptly shut down in early March.

Four former employees of the shuttered Old Country Buffet, located at 6125 N. Lincoln Ave., filed a federal lawsuit in April against the restaurant's operator, Texas-based Food Management Partners.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, alleges the company failed to notify employees about the layoffs 60 days before closing the restaurant on March 7. Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, a 60-day layoff notice is required when a business closing will result in the loss of 50 or more job positions that required more than 20 hours a week. 

At the now-closed Old Country Buffet on Lincoln Avenue, there were 57 employees who worked more than 20 hours a week, according to the lawsuit.  

"A number of the people who worked there were employed for over ten years," said Carolyn Morales with Arise Chicago, a worker center assisting the laid off Old Country Buffet workers. "This is not high school students' part-time job. This is people's profession."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:47pm
Thu Jun 16, 2016

Chicago Workers Cheer Committee Passage Of Paid Sick Time Ordinance

Chicago workers burst into cheers Thursday after a city council committee advanced legislation to make earned paid sick leave a requirement in the Windy City.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:20pm
Thu May 19, 2016

Chicago Car Wash Workers Dealt Major Blow In Wage Theft Case (VIDEO)

Eight former Little Village Car Wash workers who have been fighting for years to recoup over $262,000 in alleged stolen wages faced a major setback Thursday. 

A court hearing that had been scheduled in the wage theft case, which dates back to 2012, was canceled after the employer abruptly filed for bankruptcy.

Workers had been expecting a ruling Thursday in the case, which the Illinois Labor Department brought against the employer to recover unpaid wages stemming from minimum wage and overtime violations. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:12pm
Wed May 11, 2016

Illinois Senate Passes Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights

Legislation to create a "Domestic Workers Bill of Rights" in Illinois passed the state Senate Wednesday, bringing caregivers and house cleaners one step closer to greater job security and improved working conditions.

The bill, which the House approved last May, now goes back to the lower chamber for a final vote, according to the Illinois Domestic Workers Coalition.

The domestic workforce, mostly made up of women, has historically been excluded from protections under state and federal laws extended to workers in other industries.

The proposed "Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights Act" is meant to ensure that domestic workers in Illinois are paid no less than the minimum wage, receive at least one day off a week and have protections against sexual harassment.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:19pm
Wed May 4, 2016

Wage Theft Alleged In Lawsuit Against Chicago Dunkin' Donuts Franchisee (VIDEO)

Former Dunkin' Donuts franchise workers filed a federal class action lawsuit Wednesday, alleging wage theft at 16 downtown Chicago locations operated by the same owner.

The suit alleges that the franchise owner frequently made unauthorized deductions from workers' paychecks for cash register shortages, manipulated time cards and failed to pay the minimum wage and overtime.

Christina Padilla, 23, is one of two former Dunkin' Donuts franchise workers named as plaintiffs in the suit, which is seeking class action status to cover over 100 current and former employees of the locations in question.

"Workers have [had their] wages stolen, and they have been mistreated until they quit," Padilla said in announcing the class action suit.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:58pm
Mon Apr 4, 2016

Illinois Religious Leaders Call For Peaceful Resolution In State Employee Contract Negotiations (UPDATED)

On the 48th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Illinois religious leaders urged Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislature on Monday to resolve state employee contract negotiations in a "peaceful manner."

Monday marks 48 years since King was killed in Memphis, where he was supporting striking sanitation workers represented by AFSCME.

The Rev. Robert Jones of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side joined other faith leaders and state workers, represented by AFSCME Council 31 and SEIU* Healthcare Illinois, during a Monday morning press conference organized by Arise Chicago.

"We come together today because Dr. King's message of what government should be continues to resonate. We want Illinois to be a place where no one is left behind," Jones said at the Chicago Temple building. "We want Illinois to be a place where service providers are not demonized but cherished for their sacrifices that they make and respected for the professional services that they provide. This is the kind of Illinois that we want."

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