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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:47pm
Mon Jul 18, 2016

Report: Legislative Advances, Setbacks For Progressives During 2016 Statehouse Sessions

A new report from the progressive State Innovation Exchange details some of the best and worst policies from this year's state legislative sessions.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:38pm
Wed Jul 13, 2016

Advocates Urge Gov. Rauner To Sign Illinois Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights

Illinois caregivers, housecleaners and their advocates rallied at the Thompson Center Wednesday, urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

The Illinois General Assembly approved the measure during the last legislative session and sent it to the governor on June 26.

Rauner has 60 days to take action on the legislation, which would ensure that domestic workers in Illinois are paid no less than the minimum wage, receive at least one day off a week and have protections against sexual harassment.

Magdalena Zylinska is among the 35,000 estimated domestic workers in Illinois. She's a housecleaner in Chicago who organizes domestic workers with the Arise Chicago worker center.

"Since the domestic work industry is rapidly growing, and it is a very critical part of our state, I think it is a matter of urgency for this bill to pass," she said. "Also, as domestic workers, we make all other work possible. We take care of children, aging loved ones, people living with disabilities and the homes of families. We want to be recognized as real workers, and we want to be treated with respect."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:12pm
Wed May 11, 2016

Illinois Senate Passes Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights

Legislation to create a "Domestic Workers Bill of Rights" in Illinois passed the state Senate Wednesday, bringing caregivers and house cleaners one step closer to greater job security and improved working conditions.

The bill, which the House approved last May, now goes back to the lower chamber for a final vote, according to the Illinois Domestic Workers Coalition.

The domestic workforce, mostly made up of women, has historically been excluded from protections under state and federal laws extended to workers in other industries.

The proposed "Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights Act" is meant to ensure that domestic workers in Illinois are paid no less than the minimum wage, receive at least one day off a week and have protections against sexual harassment.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:48am
Fri Nov 7, 2014

Panelists: Movement For Domestic Workers' Rights Is Growing, But Much Work Remains

The national movement to win dignity and labor protections for domestic workers is growing, but there remains much work ahead to ensure nannies, house cleaners and caregivers are guaranteed basic rights on the job.

Domestic workers, Arise Chicago organizers and author Sheila Bapat spoke on the status of the domestic worker movement at a Thursday evening panel discussion at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Gallery 400. Bapat recently wrote a book on the fight to secure rights for domestic workers.

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."

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