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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:12pm
Fri Jun 17

Former Old Country Buffet Workers Sue Over Sudden Layoffs At Chicago Restaurant

Former workers of a now-closed Old Country Buffet in Chicago are suing for back pay compensation after the restaurant abruptly shut down in early March.

Four former employees of the shuttered Old Country Buffet, located at 6125 N. Lincoln Ave., filed a federal lawsuit in April against the restaurant's operator, Texas-based Food Management Partners.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, alleges the company failed to notify employees about the layoffs 60 days before closing the restaurant on March 7. Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, a 60-day layoff notice is required when a business closing will result in the loss of 50 or more job positions that required more than 20 hours a week. 

At the now-closed Old Country Buffet on Lincoln Avenue, there were 57 employees who worked more than 20 hours a week, according to the lawsuit.  

"A number of the people who worked there were employed for over ten years," said Carolyn Morales with Arise Chicago, a worker center assisting the laid off Old Country Buffet workers. "This is not high school students' part-time job. This is people's profession."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:19pm
Wed May 4

Wage Theft Alleged In Lawsuit Against Chicago Dunkin' Donuts Franchisee (VIDEO)

Former Dunkin' Donuts franchise workers filed a federal class action lawsuit Wednesday, alleging wage theft at 16 downtown Chicago locations operated by the same owner.

The suit alleges that the franchise owner frequently made unauthorized deductions from workers' paychecks for cash register shortages, manipulated time cards and failed to pay the minimum wage and overtime.

Christina Padilla, 23, is one of two former Dunkin' Donuts franchise workers named as plaintiffs in the suit, which is seeking class action status to cover over 100 current and former employees of the locations in question.

"Workers have [had their] wages stolen, and they have been mistreated until they quit," Padilla said in announcing the class action suit.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:12pm
Tue Jan 26

Illinois Social Service Advocates Speak Out Ahead Of Gov. Rauner's State Of The State Address

Ahead of Gov. Bruce Rauner's State of the State address, members of the Responsible Budget Coalition drew attention to the negative impacts of the ongoing Illinois budget impasse. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:26pm
Mon Jan 25

Cullerton Says School Funding Overhaul Should Be Tied To Budget

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said he wants school funding reform tied to the state budgeting process. 

"The governor has linked things together. We don't have a budget because he's got his 'turnaround agenda.' So I can link things together too," Cullerton said during remarks Monday at the City Club of Chicago. "This is a turnaround agenda. We gotta change the school funding formula."

During his City Club speech, Cullerton said a school funding overhaul is needed because the current system is the "most inequitable system of school finance in the country." The state's public education funding system has remained unchanged since 1997. 

"Before we appropriate money for education for next year, (which) starts July 1, we have to fix this formula," Cullerton said. "And it's not a special deal for Chicago. In fact, we're eliminating the special deals for Chicago," including the special block grant it receives. 

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
11:35am
Wed Feb 11, 2015

Victory for Workers: Cook Co. Board Passes Anti-Wage Theft Law (VIDEO)

The Cook County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously passed legislation that aims to protect employee wages and force businesses to more closely follow labor laws.

Under the ordinance, companies or business owners found guilty of wage theft are barred for five years from obtaining Cook County procurement contracts, business licenses or property tax incentives. Also, companies pursuing business with the county will now have to certify compliance with federal and state wage and labor laws.

"[Wage theft] is unfair to hard-working employees and their families and it's unfair to competing businesses which are operating within the confines of the law," said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, shortly after Tuesday's vote. "The legislation passed today will make Cook County a national leader targeting wage theft."

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