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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:45pm
Fri Nov 21, 2014

School Custodians Rally For Higher Wages, Paid Sick Leave (VIDEO)

Low-wage school custodians from Elgin, Wheaton, Rockford and other areas picketed outside of the Illinois Association of School Boards conference in Chicago Friday morning, demanding paid holiday and sick days.

Chanting "Hey, District U46. Your low wages make us sick," the custodians, hired by school district contractors and represented by SEIU* Local 1, also called for better pay and health benefits.

"We want to show (school board officials) that we're not happy with what they pay to our custodians," Carolina Villalobos, an SEIU Local 1 organizer, said outside of the Hyatt Regency Chicago, where the conference was held.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
11:46am
Fri Nov 14, 2014

Union Partnerships With Progressive Groups Crucial To Labor Movement's Future, Experts Say

Labor leaders gathered to discuss the future of American unions and the critical keys to their survival at a University of Chicago panel discussion Thursday night. Progress Illinois details highlights from the talk.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:22pm
Wed Oct 29, 2014

Report: Emanuel's $13 Minimum Wage Plan Would 'Shortchange' Women, Minority Workers

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to lift the city's hourly minimum wage to $13 would leave out approximately 65,000 low-wage workers who are mostly women and people of color.

That's according to a new Center for Popular Democracy report, which compared the potential impacts of the mayor's $13 minimum wage plan with a competing $15 minimum wage ordinance introduced in late May by a group of aldermen, including members of the council's Progressive Reform Caucus. 

The proposed $13 ordinance specifically "shortchanges" domestic and tipped workers, the majority of whom are women of color, according to the report.

The Raise Chicago coalition, which supports the $15 plan, released the report's findings at a City Hall press conference Wednesday morning. More low-wage Chicago workers would be covered by the $15 plan, which would also almost double the economic impact for the city compared to the $13 measure, the report found.

"With the opportunity to nearly double the economic growth of people across the city, our Raise Chicago ordinance would help propel people towards financial stability, help this city and state with tax revenues, and its effects would ripple through every community in Chicago," said Action Now Executive Director Katelyn Johnson, a Raise Chicago leader. "The mayor's proposal does not do enough to address the needs of Chicagoans and, in fact, will keep people living paycheck to paycheck."

Quick Hit
by
3:37pm
Wed Oct 8, 2014

Guest Post: Hundreds Of Chicago Seniors, Working Families Stage Political Theater Highlighting Barriers To Prosperity

The following is from the Jane Addams Senior Caucus.

Over three hundred senior citizens, their allies and aldermen gathered at Daley Plaza Tuesday to dramatically protest the housing and economic policies supported by Mayor Emanuel, which are having disastrous impact on struggling families and seniors.  

The message chanted at the Rally was “What do we want? $15 Now! What do we want? CHA Housing Justice!”  

Shatara Uhunmwangho, leader of Chicago Housing Initiative who is homeless said, “I made the decision to participate in the political theater and rally because I am a mother, I am a worker and I am on the waiting list for the Chicago Housing Authority. Affordable housing is an issue for my family.  My daughter and I need a stable and affordable place to live. This year, the city council has the opportunity to vote on two important issues that would transform the lives of thousands and thousands of families – the Keeping the Promise Ordinance and $15 Minimum Wage for Chicago Ordinance.”   

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:04pm
Thu Sep 11, 2014

Report: Right-To-Work Laws Strain Public Budgets & Would 'Weaken' Illinois' Economy

Workers in collective-bargaining states "are subsidizing the low-wage model of employment" in states with so-called right-to-work laws that limit union power.

That's one of the key takeaways from a new report by researchers at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's School of Labor and Employment Relations.

“Our study found that right-to-work laws weaken state economies and strain public budgets,” said the report's co-author Bob Bruno, a labor professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Right-to-work laws not only sap government revenue in the form of reduced tax receipts, but they also increase government spending in outlays for food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:15pm
Thu Sep 4, 2014

Chicagoland Fast Food Workers Strike For Higher Wages; 31 Arrests Made (VIDEO)

Chicago fast food workers escalated their fight on Thursday for a $15 hourly wage and union rights by participating in acts of civil disobedience during a nationwide day of strikes. Progress Illinois was there for today's protests.

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