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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:02pm
Mon Feb 1, 2016

Supporters Of Cook County 'Responsible Business Act' Protest At Walmart (VIDEO)

Activists pushing for the "Cook County Responsible Business Act" stepped up their campaign Monday morning by protesting in support of the proposal at a Walmart in Bedford Park.

About 50 members of IIRON, National People's Action and other grassroots groups briefly demonstrated inside the Walmart, at 7050 S. Cicero Ave. They held signs that read, "Poverty pay? No way! We need the RBA," and chanted call-and-response style, "What do we want? Fair wages! When do we want them? Now!"

Protesters carried a large poster of a fake $33 million invoice, symbolizing the cost of Walmart's "poverty wages" to Cook County taxpayers. Organizers claim local taxpayers are left with a $33 million tab each year to cover public benefits for employees at Walmart's 25 Cook County stores. The group's calculation is based on a May 2013 congressional report prepared by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which found that one 300-person Walmart Supercenter store in Wisconsin likely costs taxpayers more than $900,000 annually in government assistance for its workers.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:03pm
Thu Oct 15, 2015

Enviros, Labor Leaders And Religious Figures Rally In Chicago For Climate Justice (VIDEO)

A few hundred Illinois environmental, labor and faith leaders hit Chicago's downtown streets Wednesday evening to rally for climate justice and demand that state leaders implement aggressive policies to combat climate change.

The Chicago demonstration was one of nearly 200 similar events held across the country as part of a national day of action spearheaded by the People's Climate Movement, which was behind last year's massive climate change march in New York City that drew some 400,000 people.

The organizers of Wednesday's national day of action hoped to send a clear message to political leaders scheduled to convene for a United Nations climate change conference in Paris this December.

"The goal of these marches was to help send a clear signal that the people of this country are concerned about [the] climate crisis and injustices that are going on," the Rev. Booker Vance with Faith in Place told Progress Illinois at the Chicago rally. "We want to make sure that when our leaders go to Paris that they have a clear sense that the people are behind them. The United States in all other areas wants to be a leader. This is an (area) clearly where we can show our leadership and understanding and compassion for issues of climate justice."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:37pm
Thu Sep 25, 2014

Chicagoans Urge Emanuel To Support Corporate Tax Transparency Ordinance (VIDEO)

Chicagoans protested at Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office Thursday morning for corporate tax transparency.

At City Hall, activists with the regional community advocacy group IIRON urged Emanuel to support a long-pending ordinance that would require all publicly-traded corporations seeking subsidies or contracts from the city to publicly disclose the amount they pay in Illinois income taxes and any tax breaks they receive.

Big corporations asking for city actions, subsidies and contracts would also have to report net and taxable income under the proposed Chicago Corporate Responsibility and Tax Disclosure Act, which Ald. Will Burns (4th) introduced last November. Since then, the proposed ordinance, which has 12 co-sponsors, has been stuck in the Finance Committee, chaired by powerful Ald. Ed Burke (14th).

"Resources have been cut, and cut again, as we are told that we are in a 'budget crisis,'" said IIRON member Maria Alicia Ibarra of Bridgeport's First Lutheran Church of the Trinity. "At the same time, it is not clear (whether) corporations making record profits are paying their fair share to the common good ... Show us the money. Give us transparency."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:25pm
Thu Aug 22, 2013

Chicagoans 'Out' General Electric For Dodging Taxes, Demand Sen. Durbin Close Loopholes (VIDEO)

Chicagoans from across the city rallied downtown Thursday afternoon to “out” General Electric as a corporate tax dodger and to call upon U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to take charge and make corporations pay their fair share.

Chicago is one of 10 cities taking part in the National People's Action campaign this week meant to shine a light on various corporate tax dodgers across the county. According to the protestors, GE received $8.4 billion in federal tax breaks between 2008 and 2010.

“Everyday people are suffering while corporate taxes are at historic lows, even though corporate profits are at an all time high,” said Toby Chow, a leader with IIRON.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:17pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Report: Chicago Homeowners Lost $3.1 Billion In Wealth Last Year, Communities Of Color Hit The Hardest

The city of Chicago lost more than $3.1 billion in wealth, or about $2,900 per household, in 2012 as a result of the foreclosure crisis, according to a new report from the Alliance for a Just Society.

And more than $192 billion in homeowner wealth was lost nationally last year, the new analysis shows.

Communities of color in Chicago saw more foreclosures and lost wealth per household compared to other communities.

In 2012, the average Chicago household in zip codes with the highest concentration of people of color lost $3,700 in wealth, the “Wasted Wealth” (PDF) report found.

In comparison, the average wealth lost in segregated white communities was about $1,300 per household.

“Seeing this loss of wealth per household is profound," said the Rev. Marilyn Pagán-Banks, president of IIRON, which also worked on the release of the report. "People of color in Chicago, whose majority equity holdings remain in real estate, have been particularly affected by the crisis.” 

PI Original
by Aricka Flowers
10:24pm
Wed Mar 13, 2013

Second So-Called Progressive Caucus Emerges In Chicago City Council, Begging The Question Of Why?

A second group of aldermen, calling themselves the Paul Douglas Alliance (after the liberal Illinois U.S. Senator and former member of the Chicago City Council), announced they are forming a new so-called progressive caucus. The move comes one day after the council's original progressive caucus, the Progressive Reform Coalition, announced their legislative priorities. Progress Illinois breaks down what the formation of the second progressive caucus could really mean.

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