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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:25pm
Tue Jun 10, 2014

Cook County Employees Hit The Picket Line To Demand 'Fair' Contract (VIDEO)

Dozens of frontline employees at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago hit the picket lines during their lunch break Tuesday, demanding that county officials shore up ongoing negotiations and sign a 'fair' contract with their union, AFSCME Council 31.

The protest outside of the criminal courthouse at 26th St. and California Ave. was one of 14 worksite pickets held by Cook County workers today to call for a new contract that includes fair wages and affordable health insurance. Demonstrations also took place at suburban Cook County courthouses as well as the Juvenile Court Building and the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, among other locations.

"We want what everybody else wants. We want fair wages, affordable health care and we want respect on the job," said Steve Ramsey, 35, an investigator with the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. "This administration has failed to come to the table and offer any of that to us."

Quick Hit
by
11:37am
Mon Nov 11, 2013

Op-Ed: Chicago Faith Leaders Decry Privatization Of Public Sector Jobs

Chicago's faith leaders joined forces to push back against privatization and the loss of public sector jobs.

Drawing on our sacred Scriptures which inform us that all people are created in the image of God, thereby deserving of dignity, we believe all working people need wages and benefits that will sustain them and their families. We further believe that it is in the best interest of a community to have its public-sector jobs held under the auspices of the community, not an outside contractor who too often stands to profit by exploiting the workforce and offering sub-standard services.

The great City of Chicago has witnessed a growing number of government jobs being handed over to the private sector in order to “cut expenses.” However, the decision-making process has not been transparent and there was no opportunity for public review of the private contracts. These decisions have far-reaching consequences and need to be brought into the light of public scrutiny and debate.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:03pm
Fri Aug 16, 2013

Study: University Pension Plan Would Weaken Financial Security Of Retirees

A pension reform proposal endorsed by various Illinois university presidents would erode retirement security for public employees and make it harder for schools to recruit and retain talented teachers, two authors of a new study say.

The pension plan, known as the “Universities” proposal, is currently under consideration by the Illinois General Assembly’s conference committee tasked with crafting compromise legislation to address the state’s nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.

Howard Wial, an associate research professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of the Pennsylvania-based Keystone Research Center, analyzed the pension proposal as part of their study released Wednesday.

The pension proposal, put forth by a group of scholars from the University of Illinois and Northern Illinois University, focuses on the State Universities Retirement System. Members of the pension conference committee have said they are looking at ways to adapt the plan for other retirement systems.

“Policymakers need to recognize that this plan represents a very deep cut to public pension benefits despite the consensus that state underfunding, not public-sector employees, is responsible for Illinois’ pension challenges,” Herzenberg said in a statement.

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