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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:35pm
Fri Jul 1, 2016

Gig Economy Workers Should Have Unemployment Protections, Experts Say

Workers in the gig economy and other independent contractors should be eligible for temporary unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs, according to a new report.

The Center for American Progress, Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, and the National Employment Law Project have a package of proposals aimed at adapting the unemployment insurance (UI) system "for 21st century realities."

The proposed reforms include creating a "Jobseekers Allowance" for workers ineligible for traditional UI, including independent contractors and others in the "gig" or sharing economy, such as Uber and Lyft drivers. A Jobseekers Allowance would also cover individuals with limited work history, including young people transitioning from school to work and people re-entering the labor force after caring for a family member or recovering from an illness.

UI is a federal-state program that temporarily replaces wages for individuals who lost their job through no fault of their own and are actively looking for employment, among other eligibility requirements. Workers in most states can receive UI benefits, which are paid by businesses through payroll taxes, for a maximum of 26 weeks.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:43pm
Wed Feb 10, 2016

Chicago City Council Roundup: The Brouhaha Over Council Oversight & Plan To Slap Cab Riders With Another Surcharge

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting, which covered everything from city council oversight to the "tampon tax."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:35pm
Wed Oct 28, 2015

Chicago City Council OK's Budget, Record Property Tax Hike & Lucas Museum

Progress Illinois rounds up the action at Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting, during which aldermen approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2016 budget — including a $588 million property tax hike — and zoning for the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:03pm
Thu Oct 15, 2015

Emanuel Submits Budget Plan To Council; Homeless Activists Camp Out At City Hall For CHA Oversight

Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially submitted his 2016 budget proposal to the city council on Wednesday, and the public had an opportunity to weigh in on his plan at a hearing that afternoon. Homeless activists were among those who attended the hearing. They also slept outside City Hall as part of their push for greater oversight of the Chicago Housing Authority. 

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."

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