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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:25pm
Tue Jun 10, 2014

Cook County Employees Hit The Picket Line To Demand 'Fair' Contract (VIDEO)

Dozens of frontline employees at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago hit the picket lines during their lunch break Tuesday, demanding that county officials shore up ongoing negotiations and sign a 'fair' contract with their union, AFSCME Council 31.

The protest outside of the criminal courthouse at 26th St. and California Ave. was one of 14 worksite pickets held by Cook County workers today to call for a new contract that includes fair wages and affordable health insurance. Demonstrations also took place at suburban Cook County courthouses as well as the Juvenile Court Building and the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, among other locations.

"We want what everybody else wants. We want fair wages, affordable health care and we want respect on the job," said Steve Ramsey, 35, an investigator with the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. "This administration has failed to come to the table and offer any of that to us."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
7:17pm
Wed Jun 4, 2014

Fight For Higher Wages, Better Working Conditions At Walmart Rages On (VIDEO)

Just days before the kick-off of Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting, employees of the world’s largest retailer renewed their call for higher wages and better working conditions Wednesday outside of a store on the South Side of Chicago.

“I have bills to pay, but I just don’t make enough money,” said Charmaine Givens-Thomas, 61, a Walmart worker on the city’s North Side for more than eight years. She earns $12.05 per hour, but depends on public assistance to supplement her income.

“It’s devastating, sometimes I actually run out of food,” she said.

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.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:45pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Chicago Fast Food Workers Strike For Higher Wages On Global Day Of Action (VIDEO)

Chicago fast food workers hit the picket lines Thursday as part of a massive, worldwide day of strikes for higher wages and the right to form a union without retaliation. Progress Illinois provides a snapshot of some of the day's protests.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:27pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Sodexo Workers Rally To Save Food Service Jobs At The Thompson Center (VIDEO)

In the face of expected layoffs, food service workers from the Thompson Center cafeteria rallied Friday morning in downtown Chicago, calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to protect their jobs in the building that houses his local office.

“We need Quinn to step in and save our jobs, we’re in his house, serving his employees and—while he’s saying he wants to raise the minimum wage—we’re about to be unemployed,” said Sharon Nix, 35, a contract Sodexo employee at the James R. Thompson Center, at 100 W. Randolph St., for roughly 13 years.

Nix’s manager at Sandella’s Flatbread Café told workers in April that Sodexo, one of the nation's largest contracted food and facilities companies, plans to leave its post at the Thompson Center’s Great State Fare cafeteria by June 30, she said. Nix claims she was told she and her colleagues would be laid off, and would have to reapply for a position with the new company that takes Sodexo’s place.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:22pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Report Sheds Light On Taxpayer Subsidies For Restaurant CEO Pay

Some of the largest corporate members of the National Restaurant Association have pulled in hefty taxpayer subsidies for CEO pay at the same time the industry lobbying group has advocated against measures to increase the minimum wage for workers, a recent report from the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies shows. Progress Illinois takes a look at the report's findings.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:56pm
Thu Apr 24, 2014

On Anniversary Of Bangladesh Factory Tragedy, Activists Demand Safer Conditions For Walmart Workers (VIDEO)

One year after a Bangladesh factory that produced Walmart clothing collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people, the retailer is still turning a blind eye to dangerous conditions in their supply chain, according to a group of activists who staged a protest Thursday on the North Side of Chicago.

“We’ve been seeing problems after problems in Walmart’s contracted warehouses and it’s time Walmart step up and take responsibility and fix these problems,” said Mark Meinster, campaign director for Warehouse Workers for Justice.

Meinster was one of more than two dozen people who protested Thursday outside Chicago’s Walmart Express, at 2844 N. Broadway, to demand better wages and improved working conditions for employees of the world’s largest retailer and its factories.

“Walmart could easily have fixed the problems in Bangladesh, and they could easily fix problems in their warehouses here in the U.S., but so far they’ve refused to do so,” Meinster said.

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