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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:20pm
Tue Jul 22, 2014

Laid Off Illinois Workers Say Defunct Magazine Distributor Violated Labor Laws (VIDEO)

Former Illinois employees of a now shuttered magazine distribution business, who were abruptly laid off in May, are demanding that the company pay them 60 days of wages as required by state and federal labor laws. Progress Illinois has more on the wage theft allegations.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:49pm
Tue Jun 3, 2014

Pending SCOTUS Case Could Significantly Affect Public Employee Unions

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling sometime this month on a case that could potentially deal a hard blow to public employee unions nationwide. Progress Illinois takes a look at the possible implications of the Harris v. Quinn case.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:53pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Fast Food Workers Protest At McDonald’s Headquarters, Call For Higher Wages (VIDEO)

One day before the annual McDonald’s shareholder meeting took place in Oak Brook Thursday, hundreds of minimum wage workers and their supporters descended upon the fast food company’s corporate headquarters to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union.

After protesters entered the McDonald’s campus at Jorie Boulevard and Kroc Drive and staged a sit-in, 138 demonstrators were arrested and charged with an ordinance violation of criminal trespass to property, according to the Oak Brook Police Department.

“We need $15 an hour and a union to support our families,” said Jessica Davis, 25, moments before she was arrested Wednesday afternoon. Davis, a single mother with two children, ages 4 and 9 months, has worked at a McDonald’s restaurant on Chicago’s West Side for more than four years.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:25pm
Thu Apr 24, 2014

Chicagoans Hit BP, Koch Brothers Companies With Class Action Lawsuit Over Petcoke

As the debate over petroleum coke stored on Chicago's Southeast Side rages on, a consolidated class action lawsuit was filed in federal court earlier this month against BP and various companies — including three connected to the conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch — for failing to contain mounds of the gritty material.

The class action complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on April 7, is consolidated with two other lawsuits brought last year by Southeast Side Chicagoans against BP, which produces petroleum coke, or petcoke, in its oil refining process, as well as several companies that house the powdery substance in the city. 

The 10 Chicagoans named as plaintiffs in the consolidated lawsuit brought the complaint on behalf of themselves and a class estimated to be comprised of thousands of property owners located near the large petcoke piles on the city's Southeast Side.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:19pm
Mon Mar 24, 2014

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.

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