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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:35pm
Fri Aug 7

Urban Prep Faces Backlash Over Alleged Retaliatory Teacher Firings (VIDEO)

During a Friday morning protest, education and worker activists demanded that Urban Prep Academies "do the right thing" and reinstate the 16 teachers who claim they were fired in retaliation for joining a union.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:04pm
Thu Aug 6

Illinois Legislature Recognized For Passing Key Progressive Policies In 2015 (UPDATED)

Illinois got a nod in a new top 10 list of progressive policies passed during state legislative sessions this year.

The State Innovation Exchange (SiX), a group working with state legislators to advance progressive policies across the country, compiled the list. SiX was formed in an effort to counter the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that crafts and pushes conservative, corporate-friendly state legislation.

According to SiX's review, the top 10 state-level progressive measures approved thus far in 2015 involve the following: closing the wage gap for women and minorities; accommodating pregnant workers; implementing earned sick leave; expanding access to higher education; tackling the student debt crisis; reducing carbon emissions; modernizing voter registration; repealing the death penalty; increasing police accountability and public safety; and preventing abusers and stalkers from obtaining guns.

"We are convinced that progressives are right on the issues and the SiX review of the states bears that out. From advancing the economic security of working families to improving access to voting we saw that even in a map that is deeply red, progressives were able to achieve some important policy victories in 2015," SiX Executive Director Nick Rathod said in a statement. "I'm confident that as SiX grows and is able to better resource, train and organize legislators around the country, we can help to see that progressives are able to achieve more of the types of policy victories like those that made the list this year."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:20pm
Thu Aug 6

Northwest Side Chicagoans: State Budget Cuts & Poverty Wages Are Hurting Our Communities

Chicago Northwest Side residents attended a town hall meeting Wednesday night to speak out against budget cuts and the "poverty wages" impacting their communities.

Those at the town hall, hosted by Communities United, formerly the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, called for progressive revenue options to tackle the city and state's fiscal issues and highlighted their support for a $15 hourly minimum wage in Chicago.

"Because of budget cuts, essential programs are being cut for our young people and community, and students are being denied educational programs," said Communities United leader Manolita Huber. "And because of poverty wages, low-wage workers can't even afford to pay the rent, let alone put food on the table."

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