Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Sep 11

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.” Read more »

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Aug 26

Marriage Equality Supporters Rally On Eve Of Federal Appeals Court Hearing In Chicago (VIDEO)

Marriage equality supporters rallied Monday at Chicago's Federal Plaza on the eve of a key 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on gay marriage cases from Indiana and Wisconsin. Progress Illinois was there for the rally.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jun 24

Southeast Side Chicagoans Want Answers About Reported Uptick In Petcoke-Filled Trains

Southeast Side Chicagoans are sounding the alarm on the latest environmental and public safety issue impacting their communities — an alleged uptick in trains transporting uncovered piles of petcoke, a byproduct of oil refining.

Over the past two months, some Southeast Side residents say they have noticed increased train traffic on old rail lines in the Hegewisch community that have previously been unused for many years. The trains, many of which pull more than 100 cars, are moving in and out of the area day and night, said Tom Shepherd of the Southeast Environmental Task Force. 

Shepherd said the trains are carrying unenclosed petcoke, which is mostly coming from the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana and stockpiled at storage facilities along the Calumet River on Chicago's far Southeast Side.  Read more »

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
Mon May 19

Marktown Residents, Supporters Rally Against Keystone XL Pipeline (VIDEO)

Nearly 200 demonstrators gathered in Marktown Park, a neighborhood in East Chicago, Indiana, as part of a nationwide day of action that took place in more than 100 cities to protest the use of fossil fuels and to urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Demonstrators say they chose Marktown, which rests in the shadow of the BP Whiting refinery, because of the recent spill into Lake Michigan and an expansion project that will level the small community.

The demonstration was organized by, the Sierra Club, the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands, the Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organizations and other groups who say the $3.8 billion expansion of the BP Whiting facility threatens the health of the community. Read more »