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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:34pm
Thu Jul 14, 2016

Controversy Over Joe Walsh's Threatening Tweet Spills Over Into 66th House District Race

Controversy over former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh's incendiary tweets posted last Thursday after the deadly sniper attack on Dallas police officers has spilled over into the state's 66th House District race.

The Democrat in the race, Nancy Zettler, is calling on her Republican opponent, Allen Skillicorn, to disavow Walsh's "hate-filled statements."

Walsh has faced backlash for a now-deleted tweet that threatened "war" on President Barack Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

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
5:08pm
Mon Dec 14, 2015

Report: Walmart's China Imports Displaced 400,000 U.S. Jobs

More than 400,000 U.S. jobs were displaced between 2001 and 2013 due to Walmart's imports from China, according to new research from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

Of those displaced U.S. jobs, 314,500 were in the manufacturing sector, the progressive think tank found.

Walmart, the world's largest retailer, imported over $49 billion worth of goods from China in 2013, up from $11.4 billion in 2001, when China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to the research.

The report showed that Walmart likely drove about 15 percent of the U.S. goods trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2013, representing an increase of $36.7 billion over that time period.

The U.S. goods trade deficit with China grew from $84.1 billion in 2001 to $324.2 billion in 2013.

"The current unbalanced U.S.-China trade relationship is bad for both countries, and Walmart has played a major role in creating that imbalance," wrote report author Robert Scott, EPI's director of trade and manufacturing policy research. "The United States is piling up foreign debt, losing export capacity, and facing a more fragile macroeconomic environment."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:07pm
Tue Nov 17, 2015

Walmart Workers Fasting For $15 As Part Of Black Friday Protests

Walmart workers have stepped up their Black Friday protests against the mega retailer with a 15-day fast for a $15 minimum wage and full-time schedules.

Over 1,400 Walmart workers and their allies are participating in the fast, organized by the recently relaunched OUR Walmart campaign. In the run-up to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy, fasters are consuming a liquids-only diet for one to 15 days to draw attention to what they consider to be low wages and hours provided to Walmart workers.

The fast began last week and will culminate with Black Friday protests on November 27 at Walmart stores nationwide, including in Chicago and other Illinois cities.

"OUR Walmart's message to Walton heirs -- whose wealth has been greater than the bottom 42 percent of all American families combined -- is clear: while Walmart employees can barely put food on the table this Thanksgiving, Walmart continues to thrive as the largest supplier of groceries in the nation, while it lines the pockets of the Walton family with corporate greed," OUR Walmart said in statement. "Anything less than $15 and full-time is not enough for Walmart workers."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:41pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Report: Despite Walmart's Pay Hike, Employee Wages Will Still Cost Taxpayers Money

Even though Walmart has moved to increase employee wages, new data shows that the company's workers will still cost U.S. taxpayers a pretty penny to make up for the dismal earnings they bring home from working for the retail giant.

Last year, Americans for Tax Fairness issued a report stating that U.S. taxpayers pick up a $6.2 billion tab annually to cover public aid expenses for Walmart workers earning low wages.

That report came months before Walmart announced in February that 500,000 of its full- and part-time U.S. workers would be getting a wage hike. The hourly minimum wage for Walmart employees went up to $9 in April and will increase to $10 by February 2016.

In light of Walmart's new wage policy, Americans for Tax Fairness re-examined the taxpayer subsidy issue.

"Even after Walmart's planned wage increases are fully implemented, large taxpayer subsidies will still be required to compensate for Walmart's low wages," the group concludes in its newest report.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:15pm
Fri Feb 20, 2015

Report: 2014 Wages Stayed Flat Or Declined For Almost All U.S. Workers

Real hourly wages remained flat or fell for nearly all U.S. workers in 2014, including those with a college degree, according to an analysis of new wage data by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a liberal think tank.

"Last year was yet another year of poor wage growth for American workers," reads EPI's study, which looked at the most recent and available wage data by decile and educational attainment. Wage data was examined for workers in the bottom 10th percentile up to the 95th percentile.

In 2014, real wages among top earners fell by 1 percent at the 95th percentile and 0.7 percent at the 90th percentile, according to the analysis released Thursday. U.S. workers with either a four-year college degree or an advanced degree also saw their inflation-adjusted hourly wages drop by 1.3 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
10:35am
Wed Nov 26, 2014

Report: Walmart A 'Massive' Coal Consumer In Illinois

Nearly 292,000 tons of coal are burned each year to power Walmart's facilities in Illinois, producing 539,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, shows a new report examining the carbon footprint of the nation's largest retailer.

Out of all U.S. states and the District of Columbia, Walmart's coal consumption is the second highest in Illinois behind Texas, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's (ILSR) report titled, "Walmart's Dirty Energy Secret: How the Company's Slick Greenwashing Hides Its Massive Coal Consumption."

Walmart is one of the country's biggest users of coal-fired electricity overall, with its U.S. stores and distribution centers collectively responsible for the annual consumption of 4.2 million tons of coal, resulting in almost 8 million metric tons of carbon pollution each year, the report found.

"If you put all of that coal into rail cars, you'd have a train 43,000 rail cars long that stretched for over 420 miles," report co-author Stacy Mitchell, a senior researcher at ILSR, said on a conference call with reporters.

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