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PI Original
by Anthony Burke Boylan
9:47am
Thu Apr 10, 2014

Chicago City Council's Progressive Reform Coalition Raising Funds To Be 'More Active & Efficient'

The Progressive Reform Coalition will have something of a coming out party Thursday night with a fundraiser designed to introduce itself to the public and raise money to be a more active and more efficient force in city politics. Progress Illinois takes a look at what the caucus is hoping to accomplish with the additional funds.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:18pm
Mon Mar 31, 2014

Durbin, Quinn Join 'Give America A Raise' Bus Tour, Continue Call For Minimum Wage Hike (VIDEO)

Elected officials, low-wage workers and others are ramping up the pressure on Republicans in Congress to support a federal minimum wage hike.

The national “Give America A Raise” bus tour, which backs President Barack Obama’s call to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, made its way to Illinois Monday. The effort piggybacks on Obama's call during his 2014 State of the Union address for Congress to "give America a raise." Obama has pressed Congress to take action after he announced an Executive Order to have federal contractors pay their employees $10.10 an hour.

The 11-state bus tour, spearheaded by Americans United for Change, stopped in Chicago Monday morning and saw support from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and workers' right activists in the state, including members of the statewide coalition Raise Illinois as well as Citizen Action-Illinois

“If you work 40 hours a week and you do a good job, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty, and that’s what raising the minimum wage is all about,” said Quinn, who first called for bumping the state's current $8.25 minimum wage to at least $10 an hour during his 2013 State of the State address.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:37pm
Thu Mar 20, 2014

Chicago's Food Deserts Are A 'Civil Rights Issue', Experts Say

While the population of food deserts may have arguably decreased over recent years in Chicago, a number of obstacles still remain when it comes to expanding access to healthy foods in the city, according to panelists who discussed the topic Thursday afternoon.

The Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hosted the talk in Chicago to hear from public, private and non-profit leaders who work on food access issues. Back in 2011, the committee issued its own report about Chicago food deserts, a problem it says must be addressed as a civil rights issue.

Food deserts are communities that lack healthy, fresh food options. In Chicago, African-American and Latino communities tend to face the greatest food access challenges. The Emanuel administration has worked to expand food access by bringing in new grocery stores, additional farmers markets and more produce carts, among other efforts.

But panelists at the discussion, held at Kennedy-King College on Chicago's South Side, noted that poverty and high prices for healthy foods are big barriers standing in the way of eliminating food deserts. 

Quick Hit
by
12:31pm
Fri Mar 14, 2014

Guest Post: Chicagoland Hospitality Workers Rally For Fair Treatment At Neil Bluhm’s Rivers Casino

The following is from UNITE HERE on Thursday's action at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

On Thursday afternoon, over 100 Rivers Casino workers, Chicago hospitality workers and community allies rallied outside of Rivers Casino. They are calling for better working conditions and an end to management-led intimidation at Rivers. Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm is the chairman of the company that owns Rivers Casino.

Casino workers have been publicly seeking a fair process to decide whether to join a union since October 2013. Since then, casino management has embarked on an intimidation and harassment campaign that has prompted 55 federal unfair labor practice charges.

Workers claim that management has, among other tactics, threatened the loss of benefits, ordered union fliers thrown in the trash and held captive-audience meetings. In addition, they claim management has directed security personnel to escort union supporters from the dining room and has disciplined union supporters. These tactics can create a climate of fear, hindering employees from unionizing.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:40pm
Thu Mar 13, 2014

Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against McDonald's Alleging 'Unlawful Pay Practices'

McDonald's employees in three states have taken their workers' rights grievances to court. A total of seven class action lawsuits have been brought against McDonald's and some of the fast food giant's franchisees by workers in California, Michigan and New York. The suits, which were filed Wednesday and Thursday, accuse McDonald's of various "unlawful pay practices," ranging from failing to provide workers with proper overtime compensation to forcing employees to work off the clock.

“These suits have be filed to stop this widespread wage theft,” said Joseph Sellers, co-counsel in the lawsuits filed in California and New York. "These cases have been brought together, because they highlight a broad array of unlawful pay practices, which together reflect ways in which McDonald's has withheld pay to its low-wage workers in order to enrich the corporation and its shareholders."

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