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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:25pm
Thu Nov 21, 2013

Walmart Workers To Hold 1,500 National Black Friday Protests

Walmart workers and their supporters plan to hold 1,500 protests nationwide against the mega retailer on Black Friday, including actions in Illinois, members of OUR Walmart announced on a conference call with reporters Thursday.

Organizers with OUR Walmart, a group that formed two years ago and is connected to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, are anticipating an even bigger turnout than last year's Black Friday protests, which were attended by some 30,000 people at 1,000 Walmart stores in 46 states.

“Black Friday 2013 will mark a turning point in American history,” said Dorian Warren, an expert on labor politics and an associate professor at Columbia University. “Fifteen hundred protests against Walmart is unprecedented. Working families are fighting back like never before, and have the support of America behind them."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:12pm
Tue Nov 19, 2013

Immigrant Rights Activists Temporarily Stall Deportation Bus At Broadview Detention Center (VIDEO)

About 50 activists rallied outside the Broadview Detention Center Tuesday afternoon and temporarily stopped a bus filled with undocumented immigrants set to be deported.

For about an hour, 12 organizers with Undocumented Illinois formed a human chain by linking arms inside tubes made of PVC pipes in front of the bus and others joined arms around the vehicle's two front tires.

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
4:46pm
Thu Nov 14, 2013

Chicago Walmart Workers Take Part In National Series Of Strikes

Less than a week after Walmart workers in Los Angeles went on strike and a day after Seattle workers at the retail giant walked off the job, Walmart employees at three locations in Chicago staged a strike of their own.

Employees from stores in Lakeview, Evergreen Park and Chatham staged walkouts in the early afternoon Wednesday and later descended on the South Side Chatham location for a rally. The series of strikes are part of a larger campaign by OUR Walmart, which is tied to the United Food & Commercial Workers Union. The group is calling for a nationwide protest against Walmart on Black Friday and has built a website to help organize workers and community supporters. The Nation reports that more than 400 Walmart workers walked off the job in a similar protest against the company last year.

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
11:58am
Thu Nov 7, 2013

Hundreds Protest For A Vote On Immigration Reform, Block Traffic In Chicago (VIDEO)

More than 100 people were given citations for blocking traffic Wednesday night as a massive immigration reform rally interrupted traffic at the Clark Street and Congress Parkway intersection, near the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters building in Chicago. Progress Illinois was there for the action.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:32pm
Mon Nov 4, 2013

CPS Students Dress Like Zombies, Protest The 'Death Of Public Education' (VIDEO)

Excessive testing is taking the life out of education, according to a group of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students who dressed like zombies and marched from the district’s headquarters in Chicago to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office at city hall Friday evening.

Calling themselves “the learning dead,” the students, organized by the Chicago Student Union (CSO), protested the “death of Chicago’s public education system.”

While proponents of standardized testing say it helps to close the achievement gap, roughly a dozen students claimed on Friday that high-stakes testing takes up valuable instruction time and negatively impacts student learning.

“I love to learn, but because education officials put so much emphasis on standardized testing — they use it to measure school success, measure teacher success, measure student success — teachers are forced to teach to the test and that really limits what we can do in the classroom,” said Charlie Murphy, 16, a junior at Lane Technical College Prep High School and member of the CSO.

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
1:39pm
Fri Nov 1, 2013

SEIU Security Officers Hold Halloween-Themed Flash Mob To Call For A Fair Contract (VIDEO)

Nearly 100 SEIU* Local 1 security officers and their supporters staged a rally and flash mob at the Thompson Center Wednesday to bring attention to their campaign for better wages and affordable health care. Presently, full time security officers can pay up to $1,543 a month for health insurance coverage for a family of four. In some cases, that could be more than 80 percent of an officer’s monthly income.

“We’re just asking for fair wages, health benefits and [that they] just treat us with integrity and respect,” said Kenyatta Sinclair, a security officer who has been on the job for five years. Sinclair, who makes $13.60 an hour, does not currently have health benefits.

“I would have to buy my own plan, and I don’t make enough to buy one,” Sinclair explained.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:16pm
Thu Oct 31, 2013

Astor House Tenants Protest Building Conditions, Management As Original Renters Continue To Be Pushed Out

One the last remaining affordable housing tenants at the Astor House in Rogers Park saw support from a small group of activists who gathered outside the Daley Center Thursday morning prior to his eviction trial.

The tenant, Melvin Jennings, 58, lives in the 147-unit Astor House, which some say is one of the last affordable housing developments in the Rogers Park nighborhood on Chicago's far North Side.

Jennings moved into the Astor House, located at 1246 W. Pratt Blvd., in October 2012, shortly before BJB Properties stepped in to whip the troubled property into shape. The housing organizers argue, however, that BJB took over the property with the intent of quickly rehabbing the units and then marketing them to higher-paying renters, specifically students from nearby Loyola University. The company manages three other buildings in the Rogers Park area and more than 30 others on the North Side, according to its website.

Jennings said he pays $700 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, and BJB Properties has already hiked the rent for similar units.

"Now they're asking for the same one bedroom [for] $850 [to] $900, and you got an elevator problem, you got rodent problems," he said.

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