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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:16pm
Fri Jun 12

Report: Low Wages In Full-Service Restaurant Industry Cost Taxpayers $9.4 Billion Annually

Many full-service restaurant industry workers are forced to seek public aid to supplement their low wages and lack of benefits, and that leaves U.S. taxpayers with a $9.4 billion tab each year.

That's according to a recent report by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC). The restaurant worker advocacy group found that nearly half of the more than 4 million full-service restaurant workers live in households enrolled in at least one public assistance program.

Of that $9.4 billion, $1.4 billion represents the public cost of low-end pay and benefits provided at the country's five largest full-service restaurant companies, which collectively earned $704 million in profits and paid their chief executives $27 million in the last year alone, according to ROC.

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

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

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
6:44pm
Wed May 20

Fast Food Workers Protest For Higher Wages, Union Recognition At McDonald's Headquarters (VIDEO)

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Wednesday's Fight for $15 protest at McDonald's corporate headquarters in Oak Brook. 

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