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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:15pm
Tue Mar 8, 2016

On International Women's Day, Chicago McDonald's Workers Demand 'Respect' On The Job (VIDEO)

Women McDonald's workers and their allies spoke out against alleged workplace abuses during a Chicago protest held Tuesday morning to coincide with International Women's Day. Progress Illinois was there for the protest. 

Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
12:53pm
Mon Mar 7, 2016

Red-Light Camera Protest Eclipsed By Political Rivalry

What began as a protest against Chicago's red-light cameras quickly shifted into political grandstanding, as supporters of House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) showed up en masse to picket against 22nd district challenger Jason Gonzales.

Earlier in the day, at the corner of 63rd St. and Kedzie Ave., the Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras enjoyed raucous support from the pubic, as passing cars and pedestrians stopped to show their support.

Mark Wallace, director of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, says red-light cameras have been strategically placed throughout the city based on revenue potential, not safety needs.

"This was a scheme motivated by money, but presented to the public under the disguise of safety," Wallace said. "They choose primarily poor and low-income areas because they have high rates of traffic, where they would be able to get high rates of tickets and revenue. The city has, in effect, put into place a solution for a problem that didn't exist, under the disguise of safety."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:51pm
Mon Feb 8, 2016

Chicago State University Students Protest Against Illinois Budget Stalemate (VIDEO)

Chicago State University students and their supporters rallied at the Thompson Center Monday morning, demanding state action to avert a possible shutdown of the predominately black university due to the budget impasse.

Holding signs that read, "Black minds matter" and "Save CSU," students urged Gov. Bruce Rauner and state legislators to end the ongoing fiscal battle that has left Illinois without a budget since July 1. 

CSU serves over 4,000 students and depends on the state for 30 percent of its budget. The university and other Illinois higher education institutions have gone unfunded during the stalemate in Springfield. As a result, CSU declared itself in a financial state of emergency last week, increasing the possibility of layoffs and cuts to keep the university operating. CSU officials have previously stated that the university could go broke by March.

CSU senior Lakeisha Perry, a psychology major on track to graduate next December, said the budget uncertainty is "nerve-wracking."

"You work so hard and then this happens," she told Progress Illinois at the Thompson Center.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:02pm
Mon Feb 1, 2016

Supporters Of Cook County 'Responsible Business Act' Protest At Walmart (VIDEO)

Activists pushing for the "Cook County Responsible Business Act" stepped up their campaign Monday morning by protesting in support of the proposal at a Walmart in Bedford Park.

About 50 members of IIRON, National People's Action and other grassroots groups briefly demonstrated inside the Walmart, at 7050 S. Cicero Ave. They held signs that read, "Poverty pay? No way! We need the RBA," and chanted call-and-response style, "What do we want? Fair wages! When do we want them? Now!"

Protesters carried a large poster of a fake $33 million invoice, symbolizing the cost of Walmart's "poverty wages" to Cook County taxpayers. Organizers claim local taxpayers are left with a $33 million tab each year to cover public benefits for employees at Walmart's 25 Cook County stores. The group's calculation is based on a May 2013 congressional report prepared by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which found that one 300-person Walmart Supercenter store in Wisconsin likely costs taxpayers more than $900,000 annually in government assistance for its workers.

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