The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform hosted a panel discussion Wednesday in Chicago on "the importance of keeping government accountable for clean and safe water." Progress Illinois provides highlights from the talk.
At a time when minority students comprise over half of the nation's public school students, a new study shows that minority teachers are sorely underrepresented in public elementary and secondary schools in Chicago and several other major U.S. cities.
The Albert Shanker Institute (ASI), a think tank affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), took a comprehensive look at teacher diversity in nine U.S. cities -- Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington.
On average, about 6 in every 10 teachers in these cities are white, while only 1 in every 10 students is white, the study found.
"As a general rule, there is a serious underrepresentation of minority groups in the teacher workforces in each one of these nine cities," ASI's Executive Director Leo Casey said last week during a press conference about the study. "And that underrepresentation is particularly marked for black and Hispanic teachers."
Nearly 100 fast food workers and community activists picketed outside the McDonald's restaurant adjacent to the Chicago Board of Trade to show solidarity with workers in New York who are testifying at the last wage board hearing called by the state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, to recommend an increase to the minimum wage.
The demonstrators also called on Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to put a stop to proposed state budget cuts that would impact home and child care workers.
Holding signs that read "New York, Chicago has your back" and "We need raises, not cuts," demonstrators spoke passionately about how a wage increase to $15 an hour would improve their lives -- and how Rauner's proposed budget cuts could harm working families.
Aspects of Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin's 7-point plan to curb gun violence received mixed reactions at a summit the West Side politician held Saturday. The most contorversial part of the plan involves charging individuals who commit gun crimes as domestic terrorists.
The summit, held at the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, was attended by city and county officials as well as academics and community activists. Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel were invited to the summit, but did not make an appearance. Boykin says the purpose of the summit was "to put meat on the bones" of his plan.
Boykin unveiled the gun violence prevention plan in May after he became concerned about the increasing number of shootings in his West Side district. Since the plan's release, Boykin has come under fire for the concept of charging individuals that shoot a gun, and their accomplices, as domestic terrorists. Boykin did not escape that criticism at Saturday's summit.
The "widespread" problem of wage theft in America might be costing U.S. workers more than $50 billion annually, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
EPI researchers came to the $50 billion estimate based on the findings of a separate, 2008 survey of front-line workers in low-wage industries in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. In the three major cities, workers in low-wage industries experienced close to $3 billion in total annual wage theft, which includes paying employees less than the minimum wage and failing to pay for overtime.
"Survey evidence suggests that wage theft is widespread and costs workers billions of dollars a year, a transfer from low-income employees to business owners that worsens income inequality, hurts workers and their families, and damages the sense of fairness and justice that a democracy needs to survive," the EPI report states. "If these findings in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are generalizable to the rest of the U.S. low-wage workforce of 30 million, wage theft is costing workers more than $50 billion a year."
On Saturday, the Great March for Climate Action will make a stop in Chicago as the group of activists walk some 3,000 miles from Los Angeles to Washington D.C as means to highlight climate change and encourage Americans to take action on the issue.
A new poll shows that minority voters in key battleground states view climate change as a "high-profile issue" and will be more likely to back candidates who support efforts to combat the problem. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the implications of the the poll's findings as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency holds public hearings in four cities this week on its proposed plan to cut carbon emissions.