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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:53pm
Thu Nov 19, 2015

O'Hare Security Workers Stage One-Day 'Unfair Labor Practice' Strike (VIDEO)

Security workers at O'Hare International Airport went on strike Thursday, alleging unfair labor practices by their employer Universal Security.

Fourteen out of 160 O'Hare security officers employed by Universal Security staged the one-day "unfair labor practice" strike to protest against alleged retaliation by their employer for speaking out about work conditions and organizing.

"These workers are the people who work hard to keep our passengers safe, but they work in a hostile environment each and every day and are constantly under the threat of losing their jobs," said Genie Kastrup, vice president and chief of staff with SEIU* Local 1.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
9:44am
Tue Sep 15, 2015

Irregular Work Schedules Taking A Toll On Families, Experts Say

Unpredictable and non-standard job schedules can negatively impact the development of children and adolescents whose parent work such shifts, and policy changes are needed to improve workplace scheduling practices, experts argue in a recent issue brief published by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

Children of all ages whose parents have erratic or non-standard job schedules are at higher risk for adverse cognitive and behavioral outcomes, reads the brief, authored by University of New South Wales lecturer Leila Morsy and EPI research associate Richard Rothstein.

"When parents can't predict when they will or won't be working, their entire home lives are disrupted -- they engage less with their children in critical activities like reading and telling stories," Morsy said in a statement. "In many states, parents working irregular schedules even lose eligibility for child care subsidies."

Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
9:38pm
Mon Aug 10, 2015

CAN TV Workers Set To Vote On Unionizing At Public Access TV Station

Chicago Access Network Television (CAN-TV) workers will continue their push for unionization, with Tuesday being a critical day in their drive for representation thanks to a scheduled National Labor Relations Board election.

CAN-TV employees are looking to unionize due to low wages, complaints about working conditions and hours, as well as "feeling disrespct[ed] and marginaliz[ed] by management," according to an announcement.

At a recent press conference and rally, CAN-TV executive director Barbara Popovic gave a statement on behalf of the cable public access television station.

"CAN-TV recognizes the rights of our employees to hold an election, and as an employer we will not take any action to interfere with those fundamental rights," Popovic said.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:55pm
Wed Aug 5, 2015

Housekeepers Call For Workplace Safety Improvements At Hotel Monaco Chicago

Housekeepers at the Hotel Monaco Chicago say the workplace pain they experience is impacting their quality of life.

The housekeepers, most of whom are immigrant women, took their concerns to a picket line outside the hotel Friday, urging management to improve working conditions. The non-unionized housekeepers at Hotel Monaco, 225 N. Wabash Ave., saw support from UNITE HERE Local 1 leaders and Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza. 

Hotel Monaco housekeepers say their strenuous workloads are taking a toll on their bodies. 

"Most of the pain comes from bending down to make all the beds, and I have to carry all (the) dirty linen on my back," housekeeper Maricela Gonzalez, 44, said through a translator. "I have a lot of pain in my back."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:33pm
Thu Jun 11, 2015

Whistleblower Becomes Alleged Victim Of Retaliatory Firing At Nippon Sharyo Plant (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

Passenger railcar manufacturer Nippon Sharyo has once again garnered the attention of activists and workers' rights advocates, this time for an alleged retaliatory firing. A former Nippon Sharyo worker says she was let go last week after speaking out about alleged unsafe working conditions and unfair treatment at the company's plant in Rochelle, Illinois.

Back in mid-March, then-Nippon Sharyo worker Jennifer Svenkerud filed a whistleblower discrimination complaint with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), claiming that she was written up and sent home without pay after speaking to company officials about an alleged fall hazard in the non-unionized facility.

Svenkerud, 42, worked at Nippon Sharyo's Rochelle plant as an interior railcar assembler. Before filing her complaint with OSHA of the U.S. Labor Department, Svenkerud said she was assigned on March 3 to work inside a passenger railcar that lacked handrails and safety boards to prevent falls.

"They had me drilling up into a ceiling, and I had a five-foot drop within about a half an inch from me," she told Progress Illinois. "And we're supposed to have boards there. So I went to my boss to get boards there, and they told me that that was part of my job, and I didn't need the boards."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:24pm
Mon May 18, 2015

Study: Illinois Union Membership Down 97,000 Workers Over Past Decade

Organized labor's power and effectiveness is still significant in Illinois despite unions having 97,000 fewer members in the state than a decade ago, local economic and labor experts argue in a new report.

"The labor movement's presence is still keenly felt in Illinois," said Frank Manzo with the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, which jointly released the "State of the Unions 2015" report with researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago. 

"Unions continue to increase incomes across the state and advance a strong, middle-class economy," he added.

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