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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:35pm
Thu Apr 23

Low-Wage Jobs Cost Illinois Taxpayers $1 Billion Annually, Report Finds

Progress Illinois looks at the findings of a new report detailing the "hidden cost of low-wage work" at the national and state levels.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:37pm
Mon Apr 20

Report: 2014 Wall Street Bonuses Were Double The Earnings Of 1 Million Low-Wage Workers

recent report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) reveals that Wall Street employees received $28.5 billion in combined bonuses last year.

That works out to be double the collective annual earnings of the more than one million full-time U.S. workers who made the federal minimum wage in 2014. At the national level, the hourly minimum wage is $7.25.

The $28.5 billion in bonuses was spread out among 167,800 Wall Street bank employees, according to the Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

"The size of the [2014 Wall Street] bonus pool was 27 percent higher than in 2009, the last time Congress increased the minimum wage," reads the report, "Off the Deep End: The Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low-Wage Workers."

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
2:25am
Thu Apr 16

On Tax Day, Thousands Join Fight For $15 Protest In Chicago (VIDEO)

More than 5,000 low-wage workers and their allies rallied at the University of Illinois at Chicago and protested throughout the city's downtown streets during a national day of strikes Wednesday afternoon – Tax Day – to call for a $15 minimum wage and union recognition. Progress Illinois was there for the action.

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
5:23pm
Wed Apr 15

A Look At The Morning Fight For 15 Protests In Chicago (VIDEO)

Workers fighting for higher wages and the right to unionize began a series of day-long rallies and speak-outs this morning in what organizers say will be the largest mobilization of low wage workers to date. Coordinated protests by the Fight for 15 movement and its allies are taking place in more than 200 cities in 30 countries with workers from multiple industries demanding a $15 an hour wage and better working conditions.

In Chicago, workers and their supporters rallied at numerous McDonald's locations across the city, beginning with an early morning demonstration that drew 200 at a South Side restaurant location at 8321 S. Ashland. The protests, led by fast food workers, have also drawn home care, child care and airport workers as well as college students, adjunct professors and Brink's armored car and armed security guards.

"I scrap and scrape and stress all day, every day," said Douglas Hunter, a 53-year-old maintenance worker at a McDonald's location on Chicago's West side. Hunter, who has a 16-year-old daughter, has participated in numerous strikes for more than a year. He said low wages contribute to the degradation of neighborhoods.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
10:46am
Fri Mar 27

CTU Unveils New Contract Demands, Rallies With Allies For 'Education Justice' (VIDEO)

The Chicago Teachers Union is in contract talks with the Board of Ed and released its final set of demands Thursday. The union held a large rally Thursday evening, calling for "education justice" in Chicago — a running theme among the final 10 contract requests released by the group of educators. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:51pm
Wed Mar 25

Garcia, CTU Call For $15 Minimum Wage For CPS Employees (VIDEO)

Chicago Mayoral challenger Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia joined the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) on Wednesday in demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage for all Chicago Public Schools (CPS) employees, including subcontracted workers.

Garcia and CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey made the call for a "living wage" for CPS employees at a press conference held ahead of the Chicago Board of Education's monthly meeting.

Safe Passage workers, who guard routes students take while traveling to and from school, are among those who would be impacted if CPS lifted its hourly minimum wage to $15 for all employees.

Sharkey said "there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Safe Passage workers" who currently earn less than $15 an hour.

"I stand with CTU today because what they are pressing for is an increase in the living wage," said Garcia, who is endorsed by the teachers' union in Chicago's mayoral race. "It is essential to have more stable families. They are critical providers of front-line services, caring for our children, ensuring greater community stability. I stand with them because it is good for Chicago and for a more promising Chicago for all workers in the city."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
12:57pm
Mon Mar 23

Hundreds Protest For Living Wage, Union Rights At Chicago Food 4 Less Store (VIDEO)

Hundreds of Chicago minimum wage workers and their supporters descended upon a West Side Food 4 Less store Saturday morning, demanding that the grocer give its employees a higher wage and the right to form a union.

Food 4 Less is owned by Kroger. The activists allege that Food 4 Less workers in Chicago are provided less money and fewer benefits than unionized Kroger workers across the country.

"We're asking them to respect Chicago, because Food 4 Less is union in California, and other Kroger banners are union as well, but for some reason they don't care enough about workers here," said Kristin Ryan, an organizer with United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 881.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:31pm
Thu Mar 19

Report Calls Attention To Racial Divide Among Low-Income Illinois Families

Minority working families are about twice as likely to be low-income than white working families at both the national level and in Illinois.

That's one of the key findings of a new report by the Working Poor Families Project, a national initiative focused on strengthening state-level policies to help working families attain economic security.

Illinois is home to over 400,000 low-income working families, representing 30 percent of all working families in the state, according to the report. Low-income working families are defined as those with incomes below 200 percent of the official poverty level.

Forty-six percent of all minority working families in Illinois were low-income in 2013, compared with 20 percent of white, non-Hispanic working families.

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