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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:51pm
Wed Jan 6, 2016

SCOTUS To Hear Oral Arguments Monday In Major Labor Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Monday in a high-profile labor case that could significantly affect public employee unions nationwide.

At issue is Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case brought by 10 nonunion public school teachers in California who object to paying “agency” or “fair share” fees to their local union.

The plaintiffs — represented by the the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), a conservative public interest law firm — argue that the mandatory fees, which support costs associated with collective bargaining, violate their First Amendment rights.

“Requiring teachers to pay these ‘agency fees’ assumes that collective bargaining is non-political,” reads a posting on CIR’s website. “But bargaining with local governments is inherently political. Whether the union is negotiating for specific class sizes or pressing a local government to spend tax dollars on teacher pensions rather than on building parks, the union’s negotiating positions embody political choices that are often controversial.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Fri Dec 11, 2015

Record Number Of Renters Were Burdened By Housing Costs Last Year

The number of U.S. renters burdened by housing costs hit another high last year as rents increased while earnings stayed flat, a new report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University shows.

There were 21.3 million cost-burdened renters in 2014, meaning they paid more than 30 percent of their income on housing. That’s up from the previous high of 20.8 million cost-burdened renters in 2013.

What’s worse, there were 11.4 million severely cost-burdened renters last year who paid more than 50 percent of their income on housing.

In all, 46 percent of U.S. renters were cost-burdened last year, while 26 percent had severe burdens.

“More families are renting and too many of them are struggling as supply fails to meet demand and stagnant incomes fail to keep up with rising rents,” said Julia Stasch, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which provided funding for the report. “The affordability of rental housing is a critical national issue that deserves more attention and more action from policymakers.”

Quick Hit
by guest
7:22pm
Fri Nov 20, 2015

Guest Article: Interfaith Leaders Press CHA To Preserve Housing At Lathrop Homes

The following was written by Chicago journalist Curtis Black.

Pastors invoked the Battle of Jericho -with the Chicago Housing Authority as the wall keeping people out of their promised land – at an Interfaith Call to Action rally demanding preservation of public housing at Lathrop Homes last week.

“There’s a barrier standing in the way of thousands of people who need a home,” said Rev. Bruce Ray of Kimball Avenue Church. “There’s a barrier standing in the way of new homes in a land of promise…It’s the Chicago Housing Authority.”

As fellow pastors held up a wall with the letters “CHA” on it, Ray added, “CHA might as well stand for ‘Can’t House Anyone.'”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
10:58pm
Wed Nov 11, 2015

Illinois Advocates Launch Campaign For State Legislation To Help Undocumented Students

Student and immigrant advocates are stepping up efforts to pass state legislation aimed at improving college access and affordability for undocumented Illinoisans.

Supporters of the “Student Access Bill” packed a conference room at the University of Illinois at Chicago Wednesday afternoon to launch their advocacy campaign for the legislation.

The measure would let undocumented Illinois students who meet certain requirements compete for state-funded financial aid and scholarship opportunities at public, four-year universities.

Currently, undocumented immigrants in Illinois are ineligible for public university scholarships, grants, waivers and other forms of financial assistance. They also cannot obtain federal student aid.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
8:27pm
Tue Nov 10, 2015

Low-Wage Workers March In Downtown Chicago, Push For Fight For $15 Political Agenda (VIDEO)

Hundreds of low-wage Chicago workers and their allies hit the city’s downtown streets Tuesday evening to call for a $15 an hour minimum wage, union recognition and other items on their new “voter agenda.”

The protest, which started at the Thompson Center and ended with a march to a nearby McDonald’s at Clark and Lake streets, was one among many Fight for $15 actions happening Tuesday in 500 U.S. cities.

Fast food and other low-wage workers chanted, “What do we want? $15! When do we want it? Now!”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:08pm
Tue Nov 10, 2015

Chicago Fight For $15 Activists Rally For ‘Racial, Economic Justice’ During National Day Of Protests (VIDEO)

Low-wages workers with the Fight for $15 campaign went on strike Tuesday in 270 cities, including Chicago. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the morning Fight for $15 protests in Chicago.

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