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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
9:48pm
Fri May 1, 2015

On May Day, Activists Protest Over Social, Economic Issues; Labor Leaders Blast Rauner's Anti-Union Agenda (VIDEO)

Progress Illinois recaps two separate May Day demonstrations that took place Friday, including a protest by the "May Day Radical Coalition" and a rally at the Haymarket Memorial with workers and labor leaders.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:02pm
Tue Apr 28, 2015

Nippon Sharyo Fined For OSHA Violations, Illinois Worker Advocates Applaud (VIDEO)

On Workers' Memorial Day, a coalition of local worker advocates applauded the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Tuesday morning for recently addressing "serious" safety and health hazards at Nippon Sharyo's passenger train factory in Rochelle, Illinois.

Standing outside Chicago's John C. Kluczynski Federal Building, the location of OSHA's Region 5 office, members of the Illinois Jobs to Move America coalition observed a moment of silence in honor of workers across the nation who have been injured or killed on the job and also called attention to problems at Nippon Sharyo's Rochelle facility. The Illinois Jobs to Move America coalition is comprised of community, faith, environmental and labor leaders, among others.

"The job of an assembly technician at a Ford assembly plant in Chicago shouldn't be so different than a job of [an] assembly technician at Nippon Sharyo['s] factory in Rochelle," Tony Garcia, Illinois legislative director from United Automobile Workers (UAW) Region 4, said. "But based on Nippon's OSHA violations, they are worlds apart ... Irresponsible non-union employers like Nippon Sharyo take a different approach, often cutting corners, doing training on the fly -- or not at all -- and using the cheapest inadequate equipment ... It's time for Nippon Sharyo to fix the hazardous conditions in its factory, and tell the public how they're going to do it."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:44pm
Fri Apr 17, 2015

Report: Irregular Work Scheduling Affects 17 Percent Of U.S. Workers

Unstable work schedules impact at least 17 percent of the U.S. workforce, with low-wage workers facing irregular shift times the most.

That's according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a Washington, D.C. think tank. The report, "Irregular Work Scheduling and its Consequences," is based on General Social Survey data.

Ten percent of U.S. workers have "irregular and on-call work shift times," combined with another 7 percent "who work split or rotating shifts," according to the research.

Low-wage workers are among the most prone to having unstable schedules, which are associated with longer average hourly workweeks in some occupations. Employees in low-wage industries often have little control over their schedules, the findings showed.

According to the report, irregular scheduling is most common in the following industries: retail trade; finance, insurance, real estate; business, repair services; personal services; entertainment, recreation; and agriculture.

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
5:23pm
Wed Apr 15, 2015

A Look At The Morning Fight For 15 Protests In Chicago (VIDEO)

Workers fighting for higher wages and the right to unionize began a series of day-long rallies and speak-outs this morning in what organizers say will be the largest mobilization of low wage workers to date. Coordinated protests by the Fight for 15 movement and its allies are taking place in more than 200 cities in 30 countries with workers from multiple industries demanding a $15 an hour wage and better working conditions.

In Chicago, workers and their supporters rallied at numerous McDonald's locations across the city, beginning with an early morning demonstration that drew 200 at a South Side restaurant location at 8321 S. Ashland. The protests, led by fast food workers, have also drawn home care, child care and airport workers as well as college students, adjunct professors and Brink's armored car and armed security guards.

"I scrap and scrape and stress all day, every day," said Douglas Hunter, a 53-year-old maintenance worker at a McDonald's location on Chicago's West side. Hunter, who has a 16-year-old daughter, has participated in numerous strikes for more than a year. He said low wages contribute to the degradation of neighborhoods.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:13pm
Thu Apr 2, 2015

Chicago Fast Food Workers Call McDonald's Wage Increase A 'Slap In The Face' (VIDEO)

Chicago fast food workers and their allies from Action Now protested Thursday in response to McDonald's announcement that it will soon raise wages, but only for some employees.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:28pm
Fri Dec 5, 2014

Housekeepers Protest Green Program At Chicago Hotels (VIDEO)

Hotel workers and their supporters protested outside downtown Chicago hotels Friday afternoon, alleging the "Make A Green Choice" program leads to fewer hours and intensified workloads for housekeepers.

"Many of my coworkers have gotten hurt... It's more work because we don't clean the room for three days," said Faviola Rivera, 31, a housekeeper at the Westin Chicago River North for more than eight years and mother of four children between the ages of 6 and 15.

Rivera was one of more than 100 people to protest Friday afternoon outside the Westin, Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, and W Chicago City Center, all of which are owned and operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The protesters delivered letters to hotel management, calling for an end to Starwood Hotels' "Make a Green Choice" program.

The program, which was introduced in 2009, rewards hotel guests with $5 dining or bar vouchers or reward points in exchange for opting out of housekeeping. In doing so, the company claims the hotels use less water, energy and resources.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:18pm
Mon Nov 24, 2014

Workers Claim Wage Theft, Unfair Retaliation At CD One Price Cleaners (VIDEO)

Former workers of a dry cleaners in Chicago's South Loop filed a federal lawsuit against the company Monday morning, alleging that they were asked to complete more work than was possible, forced to work overtime without proper compensation and experienced unfair retaliation when they complained.

"These are pretty straightforward violations of the law. You have to pay your workers for every hour they work," said Sean Morales-Doyle, the lawyer representing the three former workers.

Hortensia Castaneda, Naivi Cobos and Ana Rodriguez filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court claiming CD One Price Cleaners unlawfully retaliated against its workers and violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Illinois Minimum Wage Law and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.

The three women worked at the CD One Price Cleaners, at 2200 S. Michigan Ave. Their lawsuit alleges that they were required to do more work than was feasible during their shifts, such as ironing 200 garments per hour, and were also responsible for making hangers for those garments at the same time.

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