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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:58pm
Wed Apr 2

Chicago City Council Roundup: Emanuel Defends Pension Plan, Aldermen Call Mental Health Service Hearings

Progress Illinois provides some highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:19pm
Mon Mar 24

Report: Pending SCOTUS Ruling Could Shake Movement To Unionize In-Home Workers

A pending decision by the U.S. Supreme Court could have big ramifications for the ability of home-based child care workers to organize.

The outcome of the Harris v. Quinn case would particularly impact home-based child care workers that receive state funding, affecting how and if they are able to effectively unionize and collectively bargain, argues a new report by the Washington, DC-based National Women’s Law Center.

The report offers a snapshot of the growing national movement to unionize in-home child care providers, who are overwhelmingly female, are often paid low wages and usually do not get benefits. Home-based child care workers at publicly-funded operations in 14 states, including Illinois, have won the right to organize and negotiate with states. That's up from just seven states in 2007, when the law center issued its first report on the issue. 

More recently, home-based child care providers who receive state funding in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island won organizing and bargaining rights. But in places like Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin, home-based child care workers have seen their authority to organize and negotiate with their respective states revoked over the past few years.

The report noted that the push to unionize home-based child care providers has faced increased opposition, mostly related to the broader anti-union movement.

"It's not as though what we're seeing is something specific to this group of providers, but rather much more conservative legislatures and governors taking office and pushing legislation that would curtail the rights of unions, both in the private and public sector in some cases," explained Joan Entmacher, vice president for family economic security at the National Women's Law Center.

And the Supreme Court's pending ruling in the Pamela Harris v. Pat Quinn case, which centers around home-based health care aides in Illinois, could potentially mean another major setback for in-home child care providers as well as other home care workers. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:40pm
Wed Mar 19

Schakowsky Speaks Out Against Proposals To Expand Medicare Means Testing

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9) says Medicare beneficiaries would have to shoulder a severe financial burden if additional means testing is introduced into the program, as some federal proposals have recommended.

The congresswoman on Wednesday jointly released 150,000 petition signatures against means testing Medicare with national groups including the Medicare Rights Center and Social Security Works. The petition calls on President Barack Obama "to drop support of Medicare cuts," according to the groups.

"At least one in five seniors are already cutting back on health care because they can't afford it," Schakowksy said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. "Shifting more costs onto their shoulders is not the answer, especially when there are better solutions." Read more »

PI Original
by Bob Skolnik
1:33pm
Wed Mar 19

Boykin Wins Crowded Democratic Race For Cook County Board's 1st District Seat

Fueled by more than $100,000 of his own money and the backing of Congressman Danny Davis (D-Chicago), Richard Boykin won the hotly contested race for the Cook County Board's Democratic nomination in the 1st District.  We provide a closer look at the race and Boykin's victory.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:54pm
Tue Mar 18

Guzzardi Unseats Berrios In The 39th State Legislative District

Will Guzzardi, Democratic challenger in the primary race for 39th district state representative, has successfully unseated long-time incumbent Maria "Toni" Berrios.

News that Berrios' campaign had conceded broke at Guzzardi's election night party at about 9:15 p.m. Audience members immediately erupted in cheers and people began hugging one another.

When Guzzardi entered the room, more than 300 of his supporters began chanting his name. Some at the victory party wore shirts reading "Team Guzz."

During his victory speech, Guzzardi said the community stood together to demand new leadership. 

"We said with one voice that every child deserves access to a great public education," Guzzardi told the crowd. "We said with one voice that the very wealthy and the biggest corporations ought to be held accountable to paying their fair share just like the rest of us. And we said with one voice that working people who have earned their retirement deserve to get it, right?"  Read more »

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:52pm
Mon Mar 17

Election Preview: Tensions Boil Over In The 26th District Legislative Race

Jhatayn “Jay” Travis, who is challenging incumbent State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago) in the 26th District Democratic race, blasted her opponent Monday for "questionable election tactics." Mitchell's campaign called Travis' comments "desperate and superfluous." Progress Illinois details the latest scuffle kicking up dirt in the race on the eve of the primary election.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Wed Mar 12

Election Preview: A Look At The 39th District State Representative Race

With less than a week until the March primary election, eyes are peeled on the 39th District state representative race that pits politically-connected incumbent State Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios (D-Chicago) against community organizer and former Huffington Post reporter Will Guzzardi. Progress Illinois takes a look at the contest, which has been called possibly the "most important state legislative race in Illinois in the primary."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:22pm
Tue Mar 4

Mental Health Advocates Discuss Latest Potential Threat To Chicago Clinics

Chicagoans who attended a recent town hall meeting about mental health services are worried about what will happen to the city's existing mental health clinics and its clients after Medicaid managed care is expanded in Illinois.

In 2012, six of Chicago's 12 mental health clinics were shut down. And city residents seeking community mental health services might soon face another potential blow, according to speakers at Thursday night's discussion, hosted by the Mental Health Movement coalition at the United Electrical Workers Hall. Read more »