Poverty fell and median household income grew last year in Illinois, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. While experts were encouraged by the improvement, they cautioned that things are far from rosy in the Prairie State.
Contract workers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport are allegedly facing "rampant wage theft," and they are calling on the city and state to investigate the issue.
O'Hare workers and SEIU* Local 1 officials discussed the wage theft allegations Wednesday morning and announced filings of wage theft complaints with the Illinois Labor Department and Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.
The charges include 60 Chicago minimum wage ordinance violations and 20 Illinois Labor Department violations, according to the union.
At issue are security officers, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants and other workers who are employed by O'Hare contractors, including Universal Security, Prospect Airport Services, and Scrub, Inc. The union recently conducted a wage theft survey of about 300 contracted O'Hare workers, finding that they collectively lost $1 million in wages last year.
The Illinois Department of Corrections and AFSCME are trading blame over the recent inmate assault against six employees at the Pontiac Correctional Center.
Four correctional officers and two lieutenants were taken to the hospital, and have since been released, after suffering non-life threatening injuries in a Sunday fight with five inmates at the Pontiac maximum-security prison.
IDOC released a statement this week saying the Pontiac incident apparently stemmed from a staff "failure to follow workplace safety procedures already in place."
AFSCME, which represents the prison workers, responded by calling the department's attempt to blame Pontiac employees for the altercation "shameful and baseless."