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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:49pm
Thu Apr 14, 2016

Chicago Low-Wage Workers Shut Down Traffic In Push For $15 Minimum Wage (VIDEO)

A few hundred workers with the Fight for $15 campaign protested Thursday afternoon on Chicago's North Side, where they shut down traffic at the busy intersection of Sheridan Road and Hollywood Avenue. The protest was part of a global day of action being held today by low-wage workers pushing for a $15 minimum wage and union rights. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:20pm
Mon Mar 28, 2016

Expanding Middle-Skilled Jobs For Women Could Help Close Gender Pay Gap

Expanding women's access to middle-skilled jobs in growing sectors like manufacturing and information technology (IT) could help narrow the gender pay gap and improve economic security for families.

That's the key takeaway from a new study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR).

Nationwide, female full-time workers made only 79 cents for every dollar earned by men last year. The wage gap widens for middle-skilled workers in female-dominated jobs, who earn just 66 cents on the dollar paid to their counterparts in male-dominated occupations.

Women hold 55 percent of all middle-skilled jobs, i.e. those requiring a high school education but not a bachelor's degree, yet they account for only a third of workers in "good," middle-skilled occupations paying between $35,000 and $102,000 a year, IWPR found. On the flipside, women represent 86 percent of middle-skilled workers making less than $30,000 annually.

"Progress on closing the gender wage gap has slowed to a halt in the last decade," IWPR's Ariane Hegewisch, the study's lead author, said in a statement. "At the same time, employers are facing a shortage in workers who can fill these fast growing jobs in middle-skill sectors. Integrating these occupations is a win-win-win for women, employers and the economy as a whole."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:31pm
Thu Mar 24, 2016

Ryan Renounces Previous 'Makers And Takers' Rhetoric As Progressives Rebuke GOP 'Austerity' Budget Plan

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI,1) expressed regret this week for his past comments against poor Americans, saying in a major speech Wednesday that he was wrong for calling people "makers and takers."

"There was a time that I would talk about a difference between 'makers' and 'takers' in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized something. I realized that I was wrong," Ryan said during his speech about the state of American politics. "'Takers' wasn't how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, trying to take care of her family. Most people don't want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn't castigate a large group of Americans just to make a point."

In a question and answer session after his speech, delivered before a group of House interns, Ryan added, "I was callous and I oversimplified and I castigated people with a broad brush. That's wrong. And there's a lot of that happening in America today. I myself have made that mistake."

Despite Ryan's noteworthy change in rhetoric, and his push this year to make combating poverty a top GOP priority, critics say his policies speak for themselves.

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