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Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
9:38pm
Mon Aug 10

CAN TV Workers Set To Vote On Unionizing At Public Access TV Station

Chicago Access Network Television (CAN-TV) workers will continue their push for unionization, with Tuesday being a critical day in their drive for representation thanks to a scheduled National Labor Relations Board election.

CAN-TV employees are looking to unionize due to low wages, complaints about working conditions and hours, as well as "feeling disrespct[ed] and marginaliz[ed] by management," according to an announcement.

At a recent press conference and rally, CAN-TV executive director Barbara Popovic gave a statement on behalf of the cable public access television station.

"CAN-TV recognizes the rights of our employees to hold an election, and as an employer we will not take any action to interfere with those fundamental rights," Popovic said.

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
3:55pm
Wed Aug 5

Housekeepers Call For Workplace Safety Improvements At Hotel Monaco Chicago

Housekeepers at the Hotel Monaco Chicago say the workplace pain they experience is impacting their quality of life.

The housekeepers, most of whom are immigrant women, took their concerns to a picket line outside the hotel Friday, urging management to improve working conditions. The non-unionized housekeepers at Hotel Monaco, 225 N. Wabash Ave., saw support from UNITE HERE Local 1 leaders and Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza. 

Hotel Monaco housekeepers say their strenuous workloads are taking a toll on their bodies. 

"Most of the pain comes from bending down to make all the beds, and I have to carry all (the) dirty linen on my back," housekeeper Maricela Gonzalez, 44, said through a translator. "I have a lot of pain in my back."

Quick Hit
by Op-Ed
3:51pm
Tue Jul 28

Op-Ed: NY Wage Board Raises For 200,000 Fast Food Workers - Another Legacy of Jon Kest, Famed New York Organizer

The following was written by Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU* Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas.

Breakfasts with my friend, progressive icon Jon Kest, were always lively. We'd talk about organizing, progressive politics and life. But when we met at a Brooklyn diner three years ago, even I couldn't believe what he wanted to discuss this time: an audacious plan to win raises and union rights for 200,000 fast food workers in New York, and help spark a movement calling for $15 an hour for hundreds of thousands of home care, child care, airport and other underpaid workers across the United States.

If you don't know Jon, he was one of New York's - and the nation's - premier community, political and labor organizers until his life was tragically cut short by liver cancer in December, 2012.

We didn't know about his diagnosis that morning. But we did know that we were on the ground floor of a potentially transformative movement.  Jon and his staff at the New York Communities for Change (NYCC) in New York, and Madeline Talbott and her staff at Action Now in Chicago, working with SEIU, had been experimenting with organizing underpaid fast food workers in New York and Chicago.

I was somewhat disbelieving when Jon unveiled the idea of helping fast food workers in New York organize and take action on a grand scale to help win historic raises. I organized fast food workers in Detroit in the 1980s. The work was hard and victories were few and far between. Although Jon and I worked in different regions, our experiences were similar: the hard working men and women in those jobs were excited and highly motivated by the idea of forming a union to win better wages that would support their families.

Still, the odds seemed long.

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