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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:27pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Sodexo Workers Rally To Save Food Service Jobs At The Thompson Center (VIDEO)

In the face of expected layoffs, food service workers from the Thompson Center cafeteria rallied Friday morning in downtown Chicago, calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to protect their jobs in the building that houses his local office.

“We need Quinn to step in and save our jobs, we’re in his house, serving his employees and—while he’s saying he wants to raise the minimum wage—we’re about to be unemployed,” said Sharon Nix, 35, a contract Sodexo employee at the James R. Thompson Center, at 100 W. Randolph St., for roughly 13 years.

Nix’s manager at Sandella’s Flatbread Café told workers in April that Sodexo, one of the nation's largest contracted food and facilities companies, plans to leave its post at the Thompson Center’s Great State Fare cafeteria by June 30, she said. Nix claims she was told she and her colleagues would be laid off, and would have to reapply for a position with the new company that takes Sodexo’s place.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
9:57am
Tue Apr 29, 2014

ChicagoQuest Charter School Staff Demand Accountability From Board, Push For Unionization (UPDATED)

Teachers at the Chicago International Charter Schools' (CICS) ChicagoQuest campus, who are organizing to form a union, held their own version of a school board meeting Monday night to demand accountability from the CICS board of directors and school management.

“We are trying really hard right now to be in contact with the [CICS] board to work together for improvements for our school and our network, and they’re shutting us out,” said Alex Krueger, a 7th grade teacher at ChicagoQuest, a “game-like learning” junior high school located on the city's Near North side.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:19pm
Mon Mar 24, 2014

Report: Pending SCOTUS Ruling Could Shake Movement To Unionize In-Home Workers

A pending decision by the U.S. Supreme Court could have big ramifications for the ability of home-based child care workers to organize.

The outcome of the Harris v. Quinn case would particularly impact home-based child care workers that receive state funding, affecting how and if they are able to effectively unionize and collectively bargain, argues a new report by the Washington, DC-based National Women’s Law Center.

The report offers a snapshot of the growing national movement to unionize in-home child care providers, who are overwhelmingly female, are often paid low wages and usually do not get benefits. Home-based child care workers at publicly-funded operations in 14 states, including Illinois, have won the right to organize and negotiate with states. That's up from just seven states in 2007, when the law center issued its first report on the issue. 

More recently, home-based child care providers who receive state funding in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island won organizing and bargaining rights. But in places like Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin, home-based child care workers have seen their authority to organize and negotiate with their respective states revoked over the past few years.

The report noted that the push to unionize home-based child care providers has faced increased opposition, mostly related to the broader anti-union movement.

"It's not as though what we're seeing is something specific to this group of providers, but rather much more conservative legislatures and governors taking office and pushing legislation that would curtail the rights of unions, both in the private and public sector in some cases," explained Joan Entmacher, vice president for family economic security at the National Women's Law Center.

And the Supreme Court's pending ruling in the Pamela Harris v. Pat Quinn case, which centers around home-based health care aides in Illinois, could potentially mean another major setback for in-home child care providers as well as other home care workers.

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