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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:03pm
Fri Oct 2, 2015

Chicagoans Speak Out On 2016 Budget With Progressive Aldermen At Town Hall Meeting

Chicagoans vented their frustrations over items in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2016 budget proposal, including a record $588 million property tax hike, during a Thursday night town hall meeting hosted by the city council's Progressive Reform Caucus.

In addition to the proposed property tax increase, the three progressive caucus members at the meeting, Alds. Scott Waguespack (32nd), Nicholas Sposato (38th) and John Arena (45th), got an earful from residents about Emanuel's proposals to privatize the city's 3-1-1 non-emergency operations and increase fees on taxi cabs and ride-hailing services, like Uber and Lyft.

Emanuel wants to outsource 3-1-1 operations to save the cash-strapped city an estimated $1 million annually.

Debra Powell, a 3-1-1 operator of 10 years, said the privatization plan could cost 58 call center jobs and negatively impact the quality of service provided to Chicagoans.

"You don't know who you're going to be talking to when you call 3-1-1 and it's been outsourced," Powell said at the budget town hall meeting, held at the Copernicus Center on the Northwest Side. "I would rather speak with someone who lives in the city, born and raised, knows the neighborhoods. We have ... 58 operators there who live all across the city, ... so we pretty much can relate to all the residents calling in."

Quick Hit
by
12:31pm
Fri Mar 14, 2014

Guest Post: Chicagoland Hospitality Workers Rally For Fair Treatment At Neil Bluhm’s Rivers Casino

The following is from UNITE HERE on Thursday's action at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

On Thursday afternoon, over 100 Rivers Casino workers, Chicago hospitality workers and community allies rallied outside of Rivers Casino. They are calling for better working conditions and an end to management-led intimidation at Rivers. Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm is the chairman of the company that owns Rivers Casino.

Casino workers have been publicly seeking a fair process to decide whether to join a union since October 2013. Since then, casino management has embarked on an intimidation and harassment campaign that has prompted 55 federal unfair labor practice charges.

Workers claim that management has, among other tactics, threatened the loss of benefits, ordered union fliers thrown in the trash and held captive-audience meetings. In addition, they claim management has directed security personnel to escort union supporters from the dining room and has disciplined union supporters. These tactics can create a climate of fear, hindering employees from unionizing.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
6:02pm
Thu Nov 8, 2012

Illinois Gaming Expansion Still Not A Solid Bet

On election day, Illinois Democrats gained super majorities, or at least 60 percent of all seats, in both the state House and Senate. This lets Democrats override any veto from Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, if the party were to vote in unison.

The idea of a Democratic-lead General Assembly overriding the wishes of a Democratic governor sounds unusual, though it might bear some relevance on the still tangled issue of gambling expansion.