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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:44pm
Mon Sep 21, 2015

Rauner's Child Care Cuts Could Deal Economic Blow To Illinois, Say Small Business Advocates

Advocates for low-income working families in need of affordable daycare are sounding the alarm over the potential economic impacts of the Rauner administration's recent cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's CCAP restrictions, which will shut out an estimated 90 percent of new applicants from the program, "will harm the Illinois economy and cost taxpayers more in the long run," SEIU* Healthcare Illinois Vice President James Muhammad said on a Monday morning conference call.

He was joined on the call by small business advocates from the Main Street Alliance and Small Business Advocacy Council as well as a policy expert from Innovation Illinois, a Chicago-based progressive think tank.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:48pm
Fri Aug 14, 2015

Child Care Advocates, Elected Officials: Time To Up The Pressure On Rauner Over Budget Cuts

Chicago parents and child care providers pledged Thursday to ramp up pressure on Gov. Bruce Rauner over his cuts to a program that helps low-income working families afford daycare.

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9) and state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) joined child care workers and parents in denouncing Rauner's emergency changes to the Child Care Assistance Program during a town hall meeting hosted by SEIU* Healthcare Illinois at the Edgewater library.

"This is an attack on families," Harris said of the child care cuts. "It's an attack on working people. It's an attack on kids, and it's just wrong."

Schakowsky called Rauner's actions "mean-spirited."

"This is not an option to cut child care, freeze the admission and reduce eligibility," she stressed.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:35pm
Fri Aug 7, 2015

Urban Prep Faces Backlash Over Alleged Retaliatory Teacher Firings (VIDEO)

During a Friday morning protest, education and worker activists demanded that Urban Prep Academies "do the right thing" and reinstate the 16 teachers who claim they were fired in retaliation for joining a union.

Quick Hit
by Op-Ed
3:51pm
Tue Jul 28, 2015

Op-Ed: NY Wage Board Raises For 200,000 Fast Food Workers - Another Legacy of Jon Kest, Famed New York Organizer

The following was written by Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU* Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas.

Breakfasts with my friend, progressive icon Jon Kest, were always lively. We'd talk about organizing, progressive politics and life. But when we met at a Brooklyn diner three years ago, even I couldn't believe what he wanted to discuss this time: an audacious plan to win raises and union rights for 200,000 fast food workers in New York, and help spark a movement calling for $15 an hour for hundreds of thousands of home care, child care, airport and other underpaid workers across the United States.

If you don't know Jon, he was one of New York's - and the nation's - premier community, political and labor organizers until his life was tragically cut short by liver cancer in December, 2012.

We didn't know about his diagnosis that morning. But we did know that we were on the ground floor of a potentially transformative movement.  Jon and his staff at the New York Communities for Change (NYCC) in New York, and Madeline Talbott and her staff at Action Now in Chicago, working with SEIU, had been experimenting with organizing underpaid fast food workers in New York and Chicago.

I was somewhat disbelieving when Jon unveiled the idea of helping fast food workers in New York organize and take action on a grand scale to help win historic raises. I organized fast food workers in Detroit in the 1980s. The work was hard and victories were few and far between. Although Jon and I worked in different regions, our experiences were similar: the hard working men and women in those jobs were excited and highly motivated by the idea of forming a union to win better wages that would support their families.

Still, the odds seemed long.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:26pm
Thu Jul 9, 2015

Chicago Window Washers Rally For A New Contract (VIDEO)

Unionized window washers in Chicago took their campaign for a fair contract to the Magnificent Mile late Wednesday afternoon for a march and rally. Progress Illinois was there for the event.

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