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Labor
PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:15pm
Mon Sep 22

Worker Advocates Fearful Of Rauner's 'Anti-Labor' Agenda

Critics of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's stance on labor issues say his proposed policies would spell bad news for Illinois workers, retirees and unions.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
7:28pm
Thu Sep 18

Chicago Activists Press Alds. Cappleman, O'Connor To Support $15 Minimum Wage (VIDEO)

While working roughly 60 hours a week at two jobs, Ovadhwah McGee says he lives paycheck to paycheck and struggles to pay his bills each month.

McGee, a single father living in the South Side Woodlawn neighborhood with his 13-year-old son, said he works as an in-home care worker and a certified nursing assistant, making an hourly wage of $12.35 and $13.50, respectively.

“I need to be able to put food on my table without having to go to food pantries. I need to be able to work one job so I can actually spend time with my son,” he said, adding that he can’t afford to get his car fixed and thus spends two hours on public transit every day to get to and from work.

“I’m here fighting for a $15 minimum wage in the city of Chicago because I need it, because my son needs it and because working families across the city need it,” McGee said.

McGee and roughly two-dozen protesters, members of the Raise Chicago coalition, rallied to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour Thursday morning. The ralliers called on two Chicago aldermen — Alds. Patrick O’Connor (40th) and James Cappleman (46th) — to support their cause by protesting outside of their offices. The activists also demonstrated outside of a North Side McDonald’s restaurant. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:16pm
Mon Sep 15

Report: Wage Theft Costs U.S. Workers Billions Of Dollars Annually (UPDATED)

The "widespread" problem of wage theft in America might be costing U.S. workers more than $50 billion annually, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

EPI researchers came to the $50 billion estimate based on the findings of a separate, 2008 survey of front-line workers in low-wage industries in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. In the three major cities, workers in low-wage industries experienced close to $3 billion in total annual wage theft, which includes paying employees less than the minimum wage and failing to pay for overtime.

"Survey evidence suggests that wage theft is widespread and costs workers billions of dollars a year, a transfer from low-income employees to business owners that worsens income inequality, hurts workers and their families, and damages the sense of fairness and justice that a democracy needs to survive," the EPI report states. "If these findings in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are generalizable to the rest of the U.S. low-wage workforce of 30 million, wage theft is costing workers more than $50 billion a year." Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:04pm
Thu Sep 11

Report: Right-To-Work Laws Strain Public Budgets & Would 'Weaken' Illinois' Economy

Workers in collective-bargaining states "are subsidizing the low-wage model of employment" in states with so-called right-to-work laws that limit union power.

That's one of the key takeaways from a new report by researchers at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's School of Labor and Employment Relations.

“Our study found that right-to-work laws weaken state economies and strain public budgets,” said the report's co-author Bob Bruno, a labor professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Right-to-work laws not only sap government revenue in the form of reduced tax receipts, but they also increase government spending in outlays for food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit.” Read more »