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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:19pm
Mon Jul 28, 2014

Union Workers At Skokie Moving Company Strike Over Sluggish Contract Talks (VIDEO)

More than 60 workers at a moving and storage company in Skokie walked off the job Monday as part of an open-ended strike in protest of the firm's slow contract talks with their union.

Workers at Golan's Moving and Storage have been waiting for their first labor contract since winning union representation by Teamsters Local 705 in December. The union represents a core group of about 70 workers at Golan's, plus many temporary employees on 90-day work visas, said Teamsters Local 705 union representative Richard DeVries.

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
2:58pm
Thu Jul 17, 2014

Chicago Cab Drivers Rally For Better Wages, Fair Representation

Hundreds rallied at the Thompson Center Wednesday afternoon to show their support for cab drivers in Chicago who are demanding better wages and working conditions. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has been working with cab drivers in Chicago to help them unionize, which they say would give the drivers a better chance at raising their wages, handling city regulations and competing with newer ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. 

According to a study from AFSCME released last month, wages for at least half of Chicago’s taxicab drivers fall far short of the state’s minimum wage of $8.25 an hour, with some earning just over $5.00 an hour. Some 10 percent of drivers actually lose money.

“We make Chicago run, but that is not enough for City Hall,” Maxwell Akinton, a Chicago cab driver, told the massive crowd on the plaza. “They treat us like an ATM machine and pull money out of us every day. We have no way to fight back.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:52pm
Wed Jul 9, 2014

WaterSaver Workers Picket For 'Fair' Contract, Protest Over Bathroom Break Policy (VIDEO)

About 25 union-represented employees at WaterSaver Faucet Co. picketed outside of the company's Chicago headquarters and main manufacturing facility before work Wednesday morning to call for a "fair contract." 

Teamsters Local 743 represents a total of 140 workers between WaterSaver's plant, 701 W. Erie St., and another facility operated by the laboratory faucet manufacturer's sister company, Guardian Equipment, located at 1140 N. North Branch St. in Chicago.

Unionized workers at WaterSaver have been working under an extension of their old labor contract, which expired last month. Contract negotiations between the union and the company have been underway for about a month and a half, said Nicholas Kreitman, Teamsters Local 743 senior union representative and staff attorney. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:25pm
Tue Jun 10, 2014

Cook County Employees Hit The Picket Line To Demand 'Fair' Contract (VIDEO)

Dozens of frontline employees at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago hit the picket lines during their lunch break Tuesday, demanding that county officials shore up ongoing negotiations and sign a 'fair' contract with their union, AFSCME Council 31.

The protest outside of the criminal courthouse at 26th St. and California Ave. was one of 14 worksite pickets held by Cook County workers today to call for a new contract that includes fair wages and affordable health insurance. Demonstrations also took place at suburban Cook County courthouses as well as the Juvenile Court Building and the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, among other locations.

"We want what everybody else wants. We want fair wages, affordable health care and we want respect on the job," said Steve Ramsey, 35, an investigator with the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. "This administration has failed to come to the table and offer any of that to us."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:49pm
Tue Jun 3, 2014

Pending SCOTUS Case Could Significantly Affect Public Employee Unions

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling sometime this month on a case that could potentially deal a hard blow to public employee unions nationwide. Progress Illinois takes a look at the possible implications of the Harris v. Quinn case.

Quick Hit
by
5:06pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Op-Ed: Harris v. Quinn: A Personal View

The following is by Keith Kelleher, founder and President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas, and an International Vice-President of SEIU. 

As I follow progress of the latest anti-labor lawsuit, Harris v. Quinn, I’m reminded of the story of a homecare worker named Evelyn. She had recently arrived in the city and had acquired home care jobs -- helping with bathing, meal preparation, doing laundry, etc.

The home care work was demanding and the pay was low. Some days, because all of the extra work she did, it was less than minimum wage.  Evelyn earned no benefits and had no health insurance. If she got sick, she just worked her way through whatever sickness or cold she had. She had four young children and barely had time to feed them in the morning or put them to bed at night. Her husband frequently was not around.

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