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

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

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."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:49pm
Wed Jun 10

AFSCME Members Take Action As Deadline Nears For State Labor Contract (VIDEO)

As the June 30 expiration date of AFSCME's collective bargaining agreement with the state approaches, a few dozen public Illinois employees rallied in Chicago for a "fair contract." Progress Illinois provides highlights from the rally, one of more than 100 events AFSCME members are holding this week across the state.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:19pm
Wed Jun 10

CTU Members, Allies Rally For Fair Contract, Progressive State Revenue Options (VIDEO)

Progress Illinois provides highlights from the Chicago Teachers Union's Tuesday rally for a "fair contract," during which participants also called for "fair-share" revenue solutions to tackle the fiscal issues facing the city and state.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:48pm
Tue Jun 9

Supreme Court Obamacare Ruling Could Impact Subsidies For 232,000 Illinoisans

Progress Illinois takes a look at what's at stake in the Supreme Court case on Obamacare and its tax subsidies. 

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
12:12pm
Tue Jun 9

Immigration Activists Push Back Against 'Racist' Chicago Police DUI Checkpoints

Community activists are calling for accountability from the City and Chicago Police Department for what they say is the disproportionate placement of DUI checkpoints in African-American and Latino neighborhoods.

Last month, a Chicago Tribune investigation showed that 84 percent of all sobriety checkpoints in the city are placed in black and Latino neighborhoods, while predominantly white areas contain fewer of the monitoring stops. From February 2010 to June 2014, the Chicago Police Department scheduled 152 roadside sobriety checks. Of those, 127 were in communities of color, and no police district with a majority African-American or Latino population had fewer than five DUI checkpoints. 

Activists with the group say that the disproportionate amount of checkpoints, particularly in Latino communities, is racially motivated and harms immigrant communities by encouraging deportations.

"By targeting Latino neighborhoods, Chicago police is not only being prejudiced, it's also engaging in anti-immigrant behavior and abetting deportations," said Martin Unzueta, a member of the group Organized Communities Against Deportations, at a Monday press conference on the fourth floor of City Hall. 

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