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Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
5:55pm
Mon May 2, 2016

Fight For $15 Takes Battle For A Living Wage To Chicago Suburbs

The Fight for $15 campaign is taking their call for a wage increase and better working conditions to the Chicago suburbs. The workers' rights campaign held a rally at Evanston's Fountain Square over the weekend.

Emboldened by recent Fight for $15 victories in New York and California, speakers called out McDonald's and other low-wage employers, demanding that they at least match Chicago's recent minimum wage increase.

"We all know Evanston is becoming increasingly less welcome to low-income residents by way of rising property values and less affordable housing," said Gabriel Machabanski, of the Open Communities organization. "Equally important, but less emphasized, is the stagnant poverty wages. Chicago has taken action and increased its minimum wage. There's no reason workers on this side of Howard should be making less than $10 an hour."

Illinois Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) also spoke at the event, saying that the economic landscape of the country has changed over the last 30 years, concentrating the distribution of wealth among the elite.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:44pm
Tue Apr 26, 2016

Children At Risk: Protections Needed To Improve Welfare Of Youth With Incarcerated Parents

Having a parent in jail or prison can have the same impact on a child's well-being as abuse or domestic violence, according to a new report that is pushing for the expansion of support services to families affected by incarceration.

Children of incarcerated parents face increased risks of financial and emotional instability, the new study, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, reports.

"Incarceration breaks up families, the building blocks of our communities and nation," reads the study. "It creates an unstable environment for kids that can have lasting effects on their development and well-being."

Some 186,000 kids in Illinois, representing 6 percent of the state's child population, have a parent who has served time behind bars. Nationally, 5 million kids, or 7 percent of the child population, have had a parent in jail or prison during their childhood, according to the research, based on data from 2011 and 2012.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
8:01pm
Thu Apr 14, 2016

Fight For $15 Ralliers Take Aim At McDonald's, Ken Griffin & Bank Of America (VIDEO)

The Fight for $15 campaign came out in force Thursday night to protest against McDonald's, Bank of America and Illinois billionaire Ken Griffin. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the downtown demonstration. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:49pm
Thu Apr 14, 2016

Chicago Low-Wage Workers Shut Down Traffic In Push For $15 Minimum Wage (VIDEO)

A few hundred workers with the Fight for $15 campaign protested Thursday afternoon on Chicago's North Side, where they shut down traffic at the busy intersection of Sheridan Road and Hollywood Avenue. The protest was part of a global day of action being held today by low-wage workers pushing for a $15 minimum wage and union rights. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:17pm
Tue Apr 5, 2016

Downtown Chicago Security Officers Kick Off Contract Campaign, Rally For $15 An Hour (VIDEO)

Downtown Chicago security officers rallied for a pay increase Tuesday, a week before their first day of bargaining with the Building Owners and Managers Association for a new union contract. Progress Illinois was there for the rally, held at the Thompson Center.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:58pm
Mon Apr 4, 2016

Illinois Religious Leaders Call For Peaceful Resolution In State Employee Contract Negotiations (UPDATED)

On the 48th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Illinois religious leaders urged Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislature on Monday to resolve state employee contract negotiations in a "peaceful manner."

Monday marks 48 years since King was killed in Memphis, where he was supporting striking sanitation workers represented by AFSCME.

The Rev. Robert Jones of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side joined other faith leaders and state workers, represented by AFSCME Council 31 and SEIU* Healthcare Illinois, during a Monday morning press conference organized by Arise Chicago.

"We come together today because Dr. King's message of what government should be continues to resonate. We want Illinois to be a place where no one is left behind," Jones said at the Chicago Temple building. "We want Illinois to be a place where service providers are not demonized but cherished for their sacrifices that they make and respected for the professional services that they provide. This is the kind of Illinois that we want."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:31pm
Thu Mar 24, 2016

Ryan Renounces Previous 'Makers And Takers' Rhetoric As Progressives Rebuke GOP 'Austerity' Budget Plan

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI,1) expressed regret this week for his past comments against poor Americans, saying in a major speech Wednesday that he was wrong for calling people "makers and takers."

"There was a time that I would talk about a difference between 'makers' and 'takers' in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized something. I realized that I was wrong," Ryan said during his speech about the state of American politics. "'Takers' wasn't how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, trying to take care of her family. Most people don't want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn't castigate a large group of Americans just to make a point."

In a question and answer session after his speech, delivered before a group of House interns, Ryan added, "I was callous and I oversimplified and I castigated people with a broad brush. That's wrong. And there's a lot of that happening in America today. I myself have made that mistake."

Despite Ryan's noteworthy change in rhetoric, and his push this year to make combating poverty a top GOP priority, critics say his policies speak for themselves.

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