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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:43pm
Wed Feb 26, 2014

Chicago Fast Food Workers Kick Off Campaign To Demand More Work Hours

The Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago officially launched the “More Hours Now!” campaign at a Wednesday morning protest outside of the McDonald’s at Chicago and Damen Avenues. Progress Illinois was there to learn more about the new effort.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:32pm
Wed Feb 5, 2014

Former House Speaker Hastert, Cardinal George Push For Immigration Reform

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Cardinal Francis George joined Illinois business leaders at a discussion in Chicago Tuesday afternoon to press House Republicans to pass immigration reform this year.

Hastert, a Republican who served as House speaker from 1999 to 2007, said immigration reform should accomplish two key goals. He says there should be a pathway to legalization and eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. The nation’s borders also have to be deemed secure, and checkpoints need to be open and able to facilitate people coming in and out of the country, the former lawmaker said.

“Where are we today in Congress,” he asked those at the event, hosted by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition. “Is there a possibility that we can do that? I think so. I am not going to name names, but I sat down with a couple of those [ House GOP] leaders within the last eight or nine months and talked about these issues, and I think there’s an understanding, and I think it’s time that we move forward.”

Cardinal George, the archbishop of Chicago, joined Hastert in support of a pathway to citizenship. He also called on the federal government to halt deportations.

“We should end deportations because they break up families, and the family, not the individual, the family is the basic unit of our society,” George told reporters in remarks after the event, held at DePaul University. “If you break up families deliberately, you’re going to have a much weaker society, and besides, the human suffering of the children especially and also the spouse.” 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:56pm
Thu Jan 9, 2014

Minimum Wage Lights Up Guv’s Race, Study Shows Increase Could Bring 5 Million Out Of Poverty (UPDATED)

About 4.6 million Americans could emerge from poverty if the federal minimum wage was bumped up to $10.10 an hour, a recent study by a University of Massachusetts-Amherst economist shows. Progress Illinois takes a look at the national study as well as the minimum wage battle that has recently cropped up in the race for Illinois governor. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:16pm
Thu Dec 5, 2013

Chicago Fast Food, Retail Workers Walk Off The Job, Take Part In 100-City Strike (VIDEO)

A few hundred Chicago fast food and retail workers walked off the job Thursday as part of a national day of strikes for higher wages and the right to form a union without retaliation. Progress Illinois provides a snapshot of some of the day’s protests.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Fri Nov 1, 2013

Medical Marijuana Law Creates A ‘Gray Area’ For Both Employers And Employees In The Workplace

It’s still a little hazy as to how Illinois’ new medical marijuana law, set to take effect in January, will play out in the workplace, experts say. Progress Illinois takes a look at the issue.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:16pm
Tue Oct 15, 2013

Low-Wage Fast Food Jobs Cost IL Taxpayers $368 Million A Year, Report Finds

Low-wages paid by the multi-billion dollar fast-food industry forces 51 percent of Illinois’ fast food workers to rely on public assistance programs to cover basic needs, costing taxpayers in the state $368 million annually, a new report from the University of California at Berkeley shows. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the issue.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:43pm
Fri Oct 4, 2013

Quinn Pulls Criminal Background Question From State Job Applications

Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday issued an administrative order that “bans the box” on applications for state government jobs, requiring state agencies to evaluate an applicant’s skills before asking about criminal history. 

Going forward, applicants will not have to check a box on state employment applications indicating whether or not they have pled guilty to or been convicted of any criminal offense other than a minor traffic violation. State agencies are still allowed to conduct background checks and request conviction information, but not until later in the interviewing process.

“It just removes that first hurdle,” said DeAngelo Bester, co-executive director of the Chicago-based Workers Center For Racial Justice. “A lot of times when people apply for a job and check that box off, that application is thrown in the garbage. This will at least give them the opportunity to get an interview.”

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