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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
3:21pm
Thu Dec 10, 2015

Progressives To Make Debt-Free College A Key 2016 Election Issue In Illinois, Other States

Progressive lawmakers from 10 U.S. states, including Illinois, have rolled out a legislative campaign in support of debt-free college.

On a Monday conference call organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), 10 Democratic state legislators said they will introduce non-binding resolutions in their respective assemblies backing debt-free public higher education. The aim is to spark a larger conversation about debt-free college and make it a key 2016 election issue, according to the lawmakers.

Debt-free college resolutions will be introduced in the early primary states of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina plus Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

"(Monday's) announcement is part of a larger progressive strategy for 2016, ensuring that the entire Democratic Party, from the top to the bottom of the ticket, is unified behind a big, bold economic populist agenda -- an agenda that motivates people to get to the polls, and it would be a game-changer in the lives of millions," said Kayla Wingbermuehle, PCCC's debt-free college campaign director.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:50pm
Fri Oct 30, 2015

Single-Payer Health Care Advocates Rally In Chicago Against Health Insurance Industry (VIDEO)

Chanting, "Patients, not profits," a few hundred single-payer health care advocates took aim at the health insurance industry late Friday afternoon with a rally outside the Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower in downtown Chicago.

The protest came on the first day of the national Single-Payer Strategy Conference taking place in Chicago this weekend. Healthcare-NOW!, Labor Campaign for Single Payer and One Payer States are organizing the conference, which is said to be the biggest gathering of the advocates from across the country in support of a single-payer, Medicare-for-all type health care system.

Representatives from the Physicians for a National Health Program, which is also holding its annual conference in Chicago this weekend, were also at Friday's rally. The advocates carried signs reading, "Health care for all now!"

"We must come together to advocate for a health care system that is fair and just for all Americans, not just a few who can afford it," Dr. Robert Zarr, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, told the crowd outside the Blue Cross Blue Shield building, 300 E. Randolph St.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:09pm
Tue Aug 25, 2015

What's The Status Of Women's Equality In Illinois?

Ahead of Women's Equality Day on Wednesday, a new study shows Illinois is the third most equal state for women. But don't get too cheery over the findings, independent experts say. 

WalletHub, the personal finance website, ranked all 50 U.S. states on gender equality in three areas: education, political empowerment and workplace environment. Illinois had the third best overall ranking, behind New York at No.2 and Hawaii at No. 1. Utah earned the worst ranking.

A leader with the Chicago-based advocacy group Women Employed was pleased to see Illinois come in third for women's equality. However, the ranking "doesn't mean things are primarily good for women in Illinois," stressed Women Employed's Associate Director Jenny Wittner.

"It just means that by certain measures (conditions are) better than other states," she said.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:38pm
Wed Jan 14, 2015

Chicagoans Pack Hearing On Using South Side Park Space For Obama Library

About 1,000 South Siders, preservationists and others packed the second of two spirited Chicago Park District hearings Wednesday afternoon to discuss the possible use of parkland for the Barack Obama presidential library. Progress Illinois was there for the meeting.

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