The following is from the Chicago Teachers Union reflecting on the one-year anniversary of the teachers' strike.
One year ago, nearly 30,000 public school educators took to the
picket lines to fight for the neighborhood schools their students
deserve. They also wanted to secure a strong labor contract and regain
respect for their profession. It was the first teachers strike in the
city’s history in 25 years and it took the city by storm. Led by Chicago
Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis, a former chemistry teacher,
the colorful demonstrations, which began September 10, 2012 and lasted
nine days, garnered national and international headlines as the “sea of
red,” flooded the streets of downtown Chicago in a unified show of
The 2012 teachers strike was perhaps the first time in
the city’s history that a labor action of its kind garnered widespread
support from the public, including parents of Chicago Public School
(CPS) students. After weeks of dramatic labor negotiations, protests,
news conferences and rallies at the Board of Education teachers walked
away with one of the strongest labor contract in recent history, a more
unified workforce and the distinction of haven taken on a powerful,
media-savvy mayor and won.
The Village of Elwood wants CenterPoint Properties Trust to
prove that it is complying with the state’s prevailing wage laws as part of a
heavily-subsidized tax increment financing (TIF) agreement to construct
a massive multi-use industrial park in Will County.
officials filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court August 28
asking that a judge require the Oakbrook-based real estate developer to
hand over records that would show workers at the Deer Run Industrial
Park redevelopment site have been paid according to state law.
to Elwood’s complaint, CenterPoint has refused to provide any payroll
documents to the village that would confirm that the company is adhering to the
Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, which requires a minimum wage and benefits
threshold for workers associated with publicly-financed projects. Under
state law, developers of taxpayer-subsidized projects are required to
keep such compliance records.
“We find it troubling that
CenterPoint refuses to hand over public documents that would reveal if
prevailing wage laws have been violated,” Elwood Mayor William Offerman
said in a statement. “Because taxpayer dollars and public records are at
issue, the village has a duty and obligation to ensure that prevailing
wage statutes are enforced and that local workers are getting paid what
they deserve and what is required by law.”
with the Alliance for Community Services protested at the Illinois
Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Chicago office
Thursday morning demanding that the state immediately end its $76 million contract with a private, for-profit company hired to “scrub” the
Following a grievance filed by AFSCME, an
arbitrator ruled back in June that the state must end its two-year
contract with Maximus Health Services Inc. by December 31 because it
violates the state’s contract with the union. Arbitrator Edwin Benn
ruled that state employees should be doing the work to investigate
Medicaid fraud, not Maximus, the outside contractor.
Bakery workers and their supporters protested outside of Elk Grove Village's Grecian Delight Thursday to criticize the company’s alleged attempts to dismantle the
union during contract negotiations.
“They want to exploit
cheap labor, they want to get rid of union security,” said Margarito
Diaz, a union representative for Workers United. “Workers are ready to
do whatever needs to be done to protect the issue of seniority, the
issue of temporary employees and access, and union security.”
The push back against privatization, or putting public services and assets in the hands of
private entities, has become more organized. Last week, a public interest group released a legislative agenda to combat privatization, which they say too often contributes to the downward spiral of local
economies and the growing wage gap in the U.S.
The newly-released “Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda” is a package of policy recommendations intended to assert taxpayer control over public resources. Unveiled by In The Public Interest (ITPI),
a resource group focused on privatization and contracting, the agenda
is being introduced to lawmakers across the country in the hopes of
making government contracting processes more accountable and
“We wanted to introduce a set of proactive
public protections aimed at defending our communities from the often
detrimental effects of privatization,” said Shahrzad Habibi, research
and policy director for ITPI.