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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Fri Nov 1, 2013

Medical Marijuana Law Creates A 'Gray Area' For Both Employers And Employees In The Workplace

It's still a little hazy as to how Illinois' new medical marijuana law, set to take effect in January, will play out in the workplace, experts say. Progress Illinois takes a look at the issue.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:16pm
Tue Oct 15, 2013

Low-Wage Fast Food Jobs Cost IL Taxpayers $368 Million A Year, Report Finds

Low-wages paid by the multi-billion dollar fast-food industry force 51 percent of Illinois' fast food workers to rely on public assistance programs to cover basic needs, costing taxpayers in the state $368 million annually, a new report from the University of California at Berkeley shows. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the issue.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:43pm
Fri Oct 4, 2013

Quinn Pulls Criminal Background Question From State Job Applications

Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday issued an administrative order that "bans the box" on applications for state government jobs, requiring state agencies to evaluate an applicant's skills before asking about criminal history. 

Going forward, applicants will not have to check a box on state employment applications indicating whether or not they have pled guilty to or been convicted of any criminal offense other than a minor traffic violation. State agencies are still allowed to conduct background checks and request conviction information, but not until later in the interviewing process.

"It just removes that first hurdle," said DeAngelo Bester, co-executive director of the Chicago-based Workers Center For Racial Justice. "A lot of times when people apply for a job and check that box off, that application is thrown in the garbage. This will at least give them the opportunity to get an interview."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
7:28pm
Thu Aug 29, 2013

Chicago Fast Food, Retail Workers Join National Strike For Higher Wages (VIDEO)

Hundreds of Chicago fast food and retail workers walked off the job Thursday to take part in a national, one-day strike for higher wages and the right to form a union without retaliation. Progress Illinois was there for the morning and afternoon actions.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:03pm
Fri Aug 2, 2013

Bakery Workers Protest Company's Alleged Union Busting, Prepare For Strike (VIDEO)

Bakery workers and their supporters protested outside of Elk Grove Village's Grecian Delight Thursday to criticize the company’s alleged attempts to dismantle the union during contract negotiations.

“They want to exploit cheap labor, they want to get rid of union security,” said Margarito Diaz, a union representative for Workers United. “Workers are ready to do whatever needs to be done to protect the issue of seniority, the issue of temporary employees and access, and union security.”

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
11:22am
Fri Aug 2, 2013

Fast Food And Retail Workers Continue Push For Higher Wages, Hundreds Walk Off The Job (VIDEO)

“If I get paid on Friday, by Monday I’m broke,” said Mary Harris, 64, who has worked at Wendy’s for 11 years. Harris makes $9.23 per hour, and on Thursday she went on strike with approximately 400 other fast food and retail workers in Chicago to demand higher wages and better working conditions. Progress Illinois was there for the action.

Quick Hit
by
12:17pm
Fri Jul 19, 2013

Guest Article: Economy of the Squeegee — Carwasheros Organizing Across the Country

The following was written by Amy B. Dean, a fellow at The Century Foundation and co-author of 'A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement', for Truthout.

In major urban centers, car washing is an industry that relies on full-time labor. Like many other low-wage jobs in the American service economy, the workers who perform this labor are mainly adults with families to support, and they are often recent immigrants. Once considered unorganizable, the "carwasheros" (as the carwash employees call themselves) are now standing up. They are demanding to be taken seriously as employees who shouldn't be expected to survive on a teenager's summer salary.

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