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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:26pm
Wed Oct 1, 2014

Report: U.S. Temp Work At Record High, More Protections Needed For Workers

The U.S. economy currently has a record number of "temporary help jobs," but many of them fall short in terms of safety and pay for workers, according to a new report on the growth of the staffing industry by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and the National Staffing Workers Alliance (NSWA).

“The shift towards temp work is creating an economy in which working people who move and produce products for some of our nation’s largest and most profitable corporations are treated like any other input, to be acquired at the cheapest cost,” said the report's co-author Rebecca Smith, NELP's deputy director. “Staffing agencies not only fail to provide livable wages, benefits or job security for their workers, but their influence in an industry can lower standards for all workers in that industry.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:56pm
Thu Apr 24, 2014

On Anniversary Of Bangladesh Factory Tragedy, Activists Demand Safer Conditions For Walmart Workers (VIDEO)

One year after a Bangladesh factory that produced Walmart clothing collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people, the retailer is still turning a blind eye to dangerous conditions in their supply chain, according to a group of activists who staged a protest Thursday on the North Side of Chicago.

“We’ve been seeing problems after problems in Walmart’s contracted warehouses and it’s time Walmart step up and take responsibility and fix these problems,” said Mark Meinster, campaign director for Warehouse Workers for Justice.

Meinster was one of more than two dozen people who protested Thursday outside Chicago’s Walmart Express, at 2844 N. Broadway, to demand better wages and improved working conditions for employees of the world’s largest retailer and its factories.

“Walmart could easily have fixed the problems in Bangladesh, and they could easily fix problems in their warehouses here in the U.S., but so far they’ve refused to do so,” Meinster said.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:57pm
Thu Oct 24, 2013

Chicago Clergy Leaders Join The Push For Better Wages, Workplace Conditions At Walmart (VIDEO)

A group of Chicago clergy leaders gathered with Walmart employees and their supporters Wednesday, calling on the mega retailer to improve work conditions and provide better wages so its workers do not have to rely on public assistance programs to cover their basic needs.

At a news conference outside a Chatham neighborhood Walmart, pastor Walter Turner with the New Spiritual Light Missionary Baptist Church on the South Side said the community will not tolerate the world's largest retailer "pimping the employees."

"Walmart workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect," he said. "They deserve better working conditions which ensure they earn at least $25,000 a year, so they can take care of their family and not have to rely upon taxpayer dollars to survive."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
6:34pm
Mon Jun 17, 2013

Rampant Sexual Harassment, Gender Discrimination In Will County Warehouses Leads To New Task Force (VIDEO)

An overwhelming majority of women employed in Will County’s warehouses regularly face sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace, according to Warehouse Workers for Justice (WWJ). The organization has partnered with local lawmakers to form a special task force intended to address the issue.

The seven-person task force, comprised of several Joliet City Council members,Will County Board members and community activists, announced their formation at a press conference Monday.

The group aims to determine the scope of the problem and prepare preventative policy recommendations by 2014.

“I’ve seen women be targeted or retaliated against because they spoke out or refused sexual advances from supervisors,” said Cindy Marble, a lifelong resident of Joliet and community organizer with WWJ.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
5:36pm
Thu Oct 25, 2012

Making Sense Of The Recent Walmart Actions

A class action lawsuit filed Monday by twenty Chicago area Walmart workers is just the latest action against the retail giant. Walmart is also subject to a lawsuit by Chicago area supply workers and a planned employee walkout on “Black Friday”, the day after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy.

There's no obvious reason these anti-Walmart initiatives are all happening now.

Robert Bruno, director of the University of Illinois-Chicago labor studies department, credits the “constant experimentation” of unions such as the United Food and Commercial Workers, or UFCW, following the failure of more traditional unionization efforts.

One local explanation for the latest flurry of actions against the retail giant is that workers have started to take advantage of a recent state law.

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