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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:44pm
Wed May 20

Fast Food Workers Protest For Higher Wages, Union Recognition At McDonald's Headquarters (VIDEO)

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Wednesday's Fight for $15 protest at McDonald's corporate headquarters in Oak Brook. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:24pm
Mon May 18

Study: Illinois Union Membership Down 97,000 Workers Over Past Decade

Organized labor's power and effectiveness is still significant in Illinois despite unions having 97,000 fewer members in the state than a decade ago, local economic and labor experts argue in a new report.

"The labor movement's presence is still keenly felt in Illinois," said Frank Manzo with the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, which jointly released the "State of the Unions 2015" report with researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago. 

"Unions continue to increase incomes across the state and advance a strong, middle-class economy," he added.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:38pm
Tue May 12

Currency Manipulation Key Issue In Heated Debate Over TPP, 'Fast-Track' Trade Bill

As debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal rages on, a growing number of lawmakers and economic experts are troubled by the massive trade agreement's lack of strong rules against currency manipulation by foreign member countries. Calls for currency manipulation prohibitions in the TPP also come amid heated deliberation over legislation that would give President Barack Obama "fast-track" trade authority.

Currency manipulation involves a country artificially suppressing the value of its currency, usually relative to the U.S. dollar, to reduce the price of its exports, essentially giving itself a leg up over competitors. This practice is a key cause of the continuing U.S. trade deficit and has displaced between 1 million and 5 million American jobs.

It's estimated that between $200 billion and $500 billion of the U.S. trade deficit is due to currency manipulation by foreign countries, according to research from the Washington, D.C.-based Peterson Institute for International Economics.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
11:02pm
Mon May 11

After Pension Ruling, Experts Say Illinois Lawmakers Should 'Face Up' To Need For New Revenue

After the Illinois Superme Court struck down the state's 2013 pension-cutting law on Friday, some economic and political experts say Springfield lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner need to get serious about new revenue options to help address the state's pension and budgetary pressures.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:41pm
Fri May 8

Report: Despite Walmart's Pay Hike, Employee Wages Will Still Cost Taxpayers Money

Even though Walmart has moved to increase employee wages, new data shows that the company's workers will still cost U.S. taxpayers a pretty penny to make up for the dismal earnings they bring home from working for the retail giant.

Last year, Americans for Tax Fairness issued a report stating that U.S. taxpayers pick up a $6.2 billion tab annually to cover public aid expenses for Walmart workers earning low wages.

That report came months before Walmart announced in February that 500,000 of its full- and part-time U.S. workers would be getting a wage hike. The hourly minimum wage for Walmart employees went up to $9 in April and will increase to $10 by February 2016.

In light of Walmart's new wage policy, Americans for Tax Fairness re-examined the taxpayer subsidy issue.

"Even after Walmart's planned wage increases are fully implemented, large taxpayer subsidies will still be required to compensate for Walmart's low wages," the group concludes in its newest report.

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