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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:12pm
Fri Jun 17, 2016

Former Old Country Buffet Workers Sue Over Sudden Layoffs At Chicago Restaurant

Former workers of a now-closed Old Country Buffet in Chicago are suing for back pay compensation after the restaurant abruptly shut down in early March.

Four former employees of the shuttered Old Country Buffet, located at 6125 N. Lincoln Ave., filed a federal lawsuit in April against the restaurant's operator, Texas-based Food Management Partners.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, alleges the company failed to notify employees about the layoffs 60 days before closing the restaurant on March 7. Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, a 60-day layoff notice is required when a business closing will result in the loss of 50 or more job positions that required more than 20 hours a week. 

At the now-closed Old Country Buffet on Lincoln Avenue, there were 57 employees who worked more than 20 hours a week, according to the lawsuit.  

"A number of the people who worked there were employed for over ten years," said Carolyn Morales with Arise Chicago, a worker center assisting the laid off Old Country Buffet workers. "This is not high school students' part-time job. This is people's profession."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:26pm
Mon Jan 25, 2016

Cullerton Says School Funding Overhaul Should Be Tied To Budget

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said he wants school funding reform tied to the state budgeting process. 

"The governor has linked things together. We don't have a budget because he's got his 'turnaround agenda.' So I can link things together too," Cullerton said during remarks Monday at the City Club of Chicago. "This is a turnaround agenda. We gotta change the school funding formula."

During his City Club speech, Cullerton said a school funding overhaul is needed because the current system is the "most inequitable system of school finance in the country." The state's public education funding system has remained unchanged since 1997. 

"Before we appropriate money for education for next year, (which) starts July 1, we have to fix this formula," Cullerton said. "And it's not a special deal for Chicago. In fact, we're eliminating the special deals for Chicago," including the special block grant it receives. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
7:54pm
Thu Oct 9, 2014

Striking Waukegan Teachers, School Board Remain At Odds Over Contract (VIDEO)

Progress Illinois provides coverage of the teachers strike in Waukegan, which entered its sixth day on Thursday. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:09pm
Tue Jul 1, 2014

Lake County Environmental Coalition Sends Petitions To NRG Energy Over Future Of Waukegan Coal Plant (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

Lake County residents and environmentalists are asking the new owner of Waukegan’s aging coal-fired power plant to produce a long-term transition plan for the facility in collaboration with local community stakeholders.

Toting signs reading "Clean air wins" and "It's time for a clean and healthy lakefront," about 25 members of the Clean Power Lake County Campaign mailed more than 2,500 petition postcards on Tuesday to New Jersey-based NRG Energy Inc. The petition calls on the company to set a retirement date for the 90 year-old Waukegan plant, located on the city's lakefront, and make investments in clean energy projects that will hire local workers. A transition plan for the outdated plant should also consider the city of Waukegan's tax base as well as those currently employed at the site, the petition states. 

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