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Labor
PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:20pm
Tue Jul 22

Laid Off Illinois Workers Say Defunct Magazine Distributor Violated Labor Laws (VIDEO)

Former Illinois employees of a now shuttered magazine distribution business, who were abruptly laid off in May, are demanding that the company pay them 60 days of wages as required by state and federal labor laws. Progress Illinois has more on the wage theft allegations.

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
2:58pm
Thu Jul 17

Chicago Cab Drivers Rally For Better Wages, Fair Representation

Hundreds rallied at the Thompson Center Wednesday afternoon to show their support for cab drivers in Chicago who are demanding better wages and working conditions. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has been working with cab drivers in Chicago to help them unionize, which they say would give the drivers a better chance at raising their wages, handling city regulations and competing with newer ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. 

According to a study from AFSCME released last month, wages for at least half of Chicago’s taxicab drivers fall far short of the state’s minimum wage of $8.25 an hour, with some earning just over $5.00 an hour. Some 10 percent of drivers actually lose money.

“We make Chicago run, but that is not enough for City Hall,” Maxwell Akinton, a Chicago cab driver, told the massive crowd on the plaza. “They treat us like an ATM machine and pull money out of us every day. We have no way to fight back.” Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
12:28pm
Wed Jul 16

Consumer & Immigrant Rights Advocates Submit New Complaints Against Herbalife (VIDEO)

Days before the kick off of the annual Herbalife Extravaganza in Chicago, two former independent distributors from the Chicago area filed new complaints with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, claiming the nutritional products company operates a pyramid scheme that exploits Latino immigrants.

“Herbalife is in Chicago this week for a major conference, where they celebrate what they call their success and what we call a detriment to the Latino economy here in Illinois,” said Omar Duque, CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Duque joined about half-a-dozen other consumer and civil rights advocates on Tuesday to submit the complaints on behalf of the former independent distributors to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St. in Chicago.

The total number of Herbalife complaints submitted to the attorney general’s office reached 20 on Tuesday, according to the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the group spearheading the campaign. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:04pm
Mon Jul 14

Foster, Community Leaders Analyze Modern Day Civil Rights Issues (VIDEO)

The country has made great strides in the 50 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, but much remains to be accomplished, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) said at a panel discussion on the topic in Darien Monday morning.

July 2 marked 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and natural origin.

"As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and all the steps forward ... we really have to continue to ask ourselves: What are the great civil right struggles that we face today," Foster asked at the talk with community members, held at the Indian Prairie Public Library in DuPage County. Read more »

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:20pm
Thu Jul 10

Report: Give Tipped Workers The Regular Minimum Wage

Millions of tipped workers in the United States who face high poverty rates and other challenges would fare better if they earned the same government-mandated hourly minimum wage as non-tipped employees, according to a new Economic Policy Institute report. Progress Illinois takes a look at the report's findings and recommendations.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:52pm
Wed Jul 9

WaterSaver Workers Picket For 'Fair' Contract, Protest Over Bathroom Break Policy (VIDEO)

About 25 union-represented employees at WaterSaver Faucet Co. picketed outside of the company's Chicago headquarters and main manufacturing facility before work Wednesday morning to call for a "fair contract." 

Teamsters Local 743 represents a total of 140 workers between WaterSaver's plant, 701 W. Erie St., and another facility operated by the laboratory faucet manufacturer's sister company, Guardian Equipment, located at 1140 N. North Branch St. in Chicago.

Unionized workers at WaterSaver have been working under an extension of their old labor contract, which expired last month. Contract negotiations between the union and the company have been underway for about a month and a half, said Nicholas Kreitman, Teamsters Local 743 senior union representative and staff attorney.  Read more »

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:48pm
Tue Jul 8

Chicago Mayoral Task Force Recommends $13 Minimum Wage (VIDEO)

A task force appointed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has suggested bumping the city's minimum wage gradually to $13 an hour by 2018. Progress Illinois provides highlights from Tuesday's press conference about the commission's plan.