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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:20pm
Thu May 19, 2016

Chicago Car Wash Workers Dealt Major Blow In Wage Theft Case (VIDEO)

Eight former Little Village Car Wash workers who have been fighting for years to recoup over $262,000 in alleged stolen wages faced a major setback Thursday. 

A court hearing that had been scheduled in the wage theft case, which dates back to 2012, was canceled after the employer abruptly filed for bankruptcy.

Workers had been expecting a ruling Thursday in the case, which the Illinois Labor Department brought against the employer to recover unpaid wages stemming from minimum wage and overtime violations. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:18pm
Fri Dec 5, 2014

Aldermanic Candidate Questions TIF Use In Chicago's 11th Ward, Calls For Better Use Of Funds

Tax increment financing (TIF) districts located solely in Chicago's 11th Ward on the South Side had $69.5 million in unspent property tax revenue sitting in their collective bank accounts at the start of this year. 

That money would have otherwise been dispersed among the local units of government that rely on property tax revenue, including the school and park districts, were it not for the city's controversial TIF program, which is intended to spur economic development in "blighted" areas.

The Chicago-based CivicLab revealed that TIF finding and relevant information at a Thursday night meeting held at the First Lutheran Church of the Trinity, 643 W. 31st St., in Bridgeport.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
6:38pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Debate Over Proposed Metal Recycling Facility In Pilsen Heats Up (VIDEO)

Debate about a proposed metal recycling facility in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood got heated Thursday morning when activists arguing for and against the new project squared off outside of Ald. Danny Solis' (25th) office.

The $30 million metal shredding facility, run by Pure Metal Recycling, is proposed for 15 acres of land near Cermak Road and Loomis Street near the South Branch of the Chicago River. It would be on the same block as Benito Juarez Academy, 1510 W. Cermak Rd., and a few blocks from another metal shredding facility, Sims Metal Management, at 2500 S. Paulina St.

Supporters of the project say it would bring much-needed jobs to the area and is slated to be an environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art facility.

But environmental activists claim the new facility would be at a high risk for fires and explosions and bring increased air and water pollution, soil contamination, truck traffic and noise pollution to the neighborhood.

“They’re saying they’re going to be totally unlike any other facility, and totally brand new and clean, but its like playing Russian Roulette by putting it next to a school,” said Jerry Mead-Lucero of the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO). “Maybe they’ll pull off this miracle and it’ll be unlike any other recycling facility. But if they don’t, it’s going to be awfully bad for the community. They’re taking too big of a risk.”

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
8:49pm
Wed Apr 23, 2014

Chicago Environmentalists Take Fight To Doorstep Of 'Worst Corporate Polluters'

Grassroots groups from all over Chicago’s progressive landscape came together for a Climate Convergence on Earth Day, chanting for environmental and economic justice. The activists marched to corporations they say are the worst environmental offenders to deliver cease-and-desist orders, including Boeing Co., JPMorgan Chase Bank, and the British Petroleum oil company.

“If we do not have immediate change, we will face climate catastrophe by 2050,’’ said Jackie Spreadbury, an organizer with Global Climate Convergence Chicago. She called for people, planets and peace over profits as the rally began in front of the State of Illinois Center Tuesday, The event included speeches and protest songs like “This Land is Your Land’’ and original songs tailored to the event.

“The forces against us are strong, so fight not just these ten days, but every day,’’ she said, referring to the 10 days of action GCC has scheduled through May 1, or May Day. The May Day event is a march from the historically significant Haymarket Square to the ICE building on Congress Street to fight for immigration rights. Click through for more details and check back with Progress Illinois for coverage of Chicago's May Day events.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:10pm
Mon Jan 6, 2014

Pilsen Residents Push Back Against Proposed Metal Recycling Facility

Chicago's Zoning Board of Appeals granted Pure Metal Recycling more time on its application for a special use permit involving the company's attempt to open a large shredding facility in Pilsen.

In late December, an attorney for Pure Metal Recycling asked that the hearing be postponed until this month at the request of Ald. Danny Solis (25th), whose ward would house the proposed metal shredder. The Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO) had requested that the aldermen ask for the delay, citing environmental community concerns. The next Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on the matter is scheduled for January 17 at 2 p.m.

The company is seeking a special use permit to establish a $30 million metal recycling facility on 15 acres of land near Cermak Road and Loomis Street by the South Branch of the Chicago River. It would be nearly across the street from Benito Juarez Academy, 1510 W. Cermak Rd., and a few blocks from another metal shredding facility, Sims Metal Management, at 2500 S. Paulina St.

Some community members say the new scrap metal factory would be a step back when it comes to the recent environmental progress in Pilsen, such as shutting down the Fisk coal-fired power plant as well as cleaning up the H. Kramer copper smelting foundry and the former Lowenthal Metals site.

"There's no zero-emissions shredder," Nelson Soza of the community group Pilsen Alliance said in remarks after the December 20 meeting. "These metals are going to be particles that are going to fly into the air. These folks use water to suppress that, but there is no 100 percent assurance ... that this is going to be completely clean."

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