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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:33pm
Thu Jul 31, 2014

Chicago Fast Food Workers Celebrate NLRB's McDonald's Ruling (VIDEO)

Chanting "Who's the boss? McDonald's!," a group of fast food workers rallied in Chicago on Thursday in response to this week's decision by the National Labor Relations Board's top lawyer, who found that McDonald's could be held liable as an employer in unfair labor practice complaints filed against their franchisees.

The decision issued Tuesday by the NLRB general counsel came in response to unfair labor practice charges brought against McDonald’s and its franchised restaurants in a number of cities, including Chicago, since November of 2012, when fast food workers in New York participated in the first strike against the fast food industry. Among other allegations, the complainants say McDonald's retaliated against workers for organizing.

Though the ruling is preliminary, McDonald's employee Nancy Salgado, who works in the city's Logan Square neighborhood, said fast food workers — who are fighting for $15 an hour and a union — are ecstatic about the decision. 

"All along, we know that corporate is the one in charge of McDonald's [franchised stores], in charge of the workers," Salgado said at Thursday's rally, held outside of the Rock N Roll McDonald's at 600 N. Clark St. "They're always trying to hide from us and say, 'We have nothing to do with (labor practices at the franchises) ... The owner deals with you."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:37pm
Fri Jul 25, 2014

Immigrant Rights Advocates To Obama: 'Stop Deportations Now' (VIDEO)

Roughly 100 immigrant rights advocates hosted a candlelight vigil Thursday evening near President Barack Obama’s Kenwood neighborhood home, urging the president to take strong and swift administrative action on deportations. 

“The president has said that he will take administrative action to address the immigration crisis, but months after he’s ordered a review of deportations, he has yet to act,” said Lawrence Benito, CEO of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Deportations have reached record highs during Obama’s tenure as president, and Thursday’s protesters marched around his Chicago neighborhood while praying for an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system — and a halt to deportations.

“We join families who bear the brunt of this crisis to call on the president to act boldly and swiftly to fight for families,” Benito said.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:20pm
Tue Jul 22, 2014

Laid Off Illinois Workers Say Defunct Magazine Distributor Violated Labor Laws (VIDEO)

Former Illinois employees of a now shuttered magazine distribution business, who were abruptly laid off in May, are demanding that the company pay them 60 days of wages as required by state and federal labor laws. Progress Illinois has more on the wage theft allegations.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:07pm
Wed Jul 16, 2014

Consumers Target Walgreens Over 'Toxic Products'; Public Pressure Grows Over Antibiotics Use In Livestock (VIDEO)

A small group of health advocates, dog owners and Walgreens customers in Chicago called on the nation’s largest pharmacy chain to remove products that, they say, contain harmful chemicals from its shelves.

"Many major retailers in the Chicago area such as Target, Bed Bath & (Beyond), even Walmart have taken direct action to begin to remove some of the worst toxic chemicals from their products, and unfortunately, Walgreens, the flagship of Illinois, has refused to make a commitment to take action on these products," said Lynda DeLaforgue, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois, which organized the Wednesday morning protest outside of the new Walgreens store at 410 N. Michigan Ave. in the Wrigley Building.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:09pm
Fri Jun 27, 2014

CivicLab's 'Democracy Design Studio' To Launch New Tools, Programs For Activists

Progress Illinois profiles the Chicago-based CivicLab, which turns one year old next month, and its latest efforts to aid local activists.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:25pm
Tue Jun 10, 2014

Cook County Employees Hit The Picket Line To Demand 'Fair' Contract (VIDEO)

Dozens of frontline employees at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago hit the picket lines during their lunch break Tuesday, demanding that county officials shore up ongoing negotiations and sign a 'fair' contract with their union, AFSCME Council 31.

The protest outside of the criminal courthouse at 26th St. and California Ave. was one of 14 worksite pickets held by Cook County workers today to call for a new contract that includes fair wages and affordable health insurance. Demonstrations also took place at suburban Cook County courthouses as well as the Juvenile Court Building and the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, among other locations.

"We want what everybody else wants. We want fair wages, affordable health care and we want respect on the job," said Steve Ramsey, 35, an investigator with the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. "This administration has failed to come to the table and offer any of that to us."

PI Original
by La Risa Lynch
5:31pm
Mon Jun 9, 2014

University Of Chicago Alumni: No Donations Until Trauma Center Gets Opened (VIDEO)

A group of University of Chicago alumni want to put a dent in the school’s wallet by withholding donations from their alma mater as a way to pressure the Hyde Park institution to open a trauma center on the city’s South Side. 

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
7:17pm
Wed Jun 4, 2014

Fight For Higher Wages, Better Working Conditions At Walmart Rages On (VIDEO)

Just days before the kick-off of Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting, employees of the world’s largest retailer renewed their call for higher wages and better working conditions Wednesday outside of a store on the South Side of Chicago.

“I have bills to pay, but I just don’t make enough money,” said Charmaine Givens-Thomas, 61, a Walmart worker on the city’s North Side for more than eight years. She earns $12.05 per hour, but depends on public assistance to supplement her income.

“It’s devastating, sometimes I actually run out of food,” she said.

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