When Illinoisans hit the polls in November, they will see a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot asking whether the state should put transportation funding in a "lockbox" so that it cannot be used for non-related spending.
If the amendment passes, the Illinois Constitution would be amended to ensure transportation funding is safeguarded from being spent on other purposes, like balancing the state budget.
Citizens to Protect Transportation Funding, a coalition of business, labor and construction groups, is leading the advocacy effort in support of the so-called "Safe Roads Amendment," which made it onto the November 8 ballot after strong bipartisan approval from the state legislature.
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.
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."
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and other allied organizations increased their calls on Tuesday morning for an elected school board and the resignation of Chicago Board of Education member Deborah Quazzo, who has come under scrutiny over her business interests following a recent Chicago Sun-Times investigation.
Chanting, "Quit, Quazzo. Quit," about 30 CTU members, parents and organizers with Action Now, the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, More than a Score and other groups picketed outside the offices of GSV Advisors, an investment firm of which Quazzo is the founder and managing partner. The company's offices are located in the John Hancock Center, 875 N. Michigan Ave.
According to an investigative report published late last month by the Chicago Sun-Times, five educational tech companies in which Quazzo has invested have allegedly tripled their business with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) since Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed her to the board in June of 2013. The firms have reportedly been paid nearly $3 million by CPS since Quazzo's board appointment. The CPS inspector general launched a probe into the matter in light of the newspaper's findings.
The CTU maintains that "Quazzo's seat on the board represents an unethical conflict of interest" and demonstrates the need for an elected, representative school board.