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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
4:51pm
Wed Jan 6, 2016

SCOTUS To Hear Oral Arguments Monday In Major Labor Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Monday in a high-profile labor case that could significantly affect public employee unions nationwide.

At issue is Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case brought by 10 nonunion public school teachers in California who object to paying "agency" or "fair share" fees to their local union.

The plaintiffs -- represented by the the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), a conservative public interest law firm -- argue that the mandatory fees, which support costs associated with collective bargaining, violate their First Amendment rights.

"Requiring teachers to pay these 'agency fees' assumes that collective bargaining is non-political," reads a posting on CIR's website. "But bargaining with local governments is inherently political. Whether the union is negotiating for specific class sizes or pressing a local government to spend tax dollars on teacher pensions rather than on building parks, the union's negotiating positions embody political choices that are often controversial."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:34pm
Mon Oct 19, 2015

Report Makes Case Against Restricting Public-Sector Collective Bargaining Rights

In a new report, Jeffrey Keefe with the Economic Policy Institute blasts the notion that collective bargaining has caused "excessive" pay for public-sector workers. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:26pm
Thu Jul 9, 2015

Chicago Window Washers Rally For A New Contract (VIDEO)

Unionized window washers in Chicago took their campaign for a fair contract to the Magnificent Mile late Wednesday afternoon for a march and rally. Progress Illinois was there for the event.

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