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Minimum wage
Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
Fri Apr 4

Chicago McDonald's Workers Protest Against Wage Theft

As fans filed into the McDonald’s All-American Games Wednesday evening, paying as much as $135 for a ticket to watch basketball played by future millionaires, fast food workers stood across the street in hopes of simply being paid what they are owed.

More than 30 employees and organizers were protesting the theft of their wages from McDonald’s Corp. and its franchisees on the heels of a survey released this week that found 89 percent of fast food workers — 92 percent in Chicago — believe they have had wages stolen by their employer.

Protest signs supported the high school athletes playing in the annual basketball game, but condemned McDonald’s — a company that earned more than $5.6 billion last year and paid its CEO more than $13 million — for stealing from those who can least afford it. Chants included “every nickel, every dime, we deserve our overtime.’’ Read more »

Quick Hit
Wed Apr 2

Op-Ed: McDonald’s Un-American Wage Theft

The following is from McDonald's worker Adriana Alvarez, who is also an active member of the Fight For 15 movement.

When McDonald’s hosts its All-American Game at the United Center today, I won’t be able to focus on how impressive the young athletes are or how happy I am that high school graduates get to show off their skills on a national stage because for me, the games are a painful reminder of how much McDonald’s exploits and steals from workers like me. While this profitable company takes from working families already struggling to make ends meet, it pours countless dollars into events like these basketball games to show that it cares about families and communities in the United States.

I’ve worked as a cashier at a McDonald’s in Chicago for four years and make $8.75 an hour. I am a proud single mother of a 2-year-old son and a hard-working employee. All of my paycheck goes toward paying bills and supporting my son. Recently, fed up that working hard was not enough to support my family, I joined fast-food workers across the country to fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union.  Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Mar 31

Durbin, Quinn Join 'Give America A Raise' Bus Tour, Continue Call For Minimum Wage Hike (VIDEO)

Elected officials, low-wage workers and others are ramping up the pressure on Republicans in Congress to support a federal minimum wage hike.

The national “Give America A Raise” bus tour, which backs President Barack Obama’s call to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, made its way to Illinois Monday. The effort piggybacks on Obama's call during his 2014 State of the Union address for Congress to "give America a raise." Obama has pressed Congress to take action after he announced an Executive Order to have federal contractors pay their employees $10.10 an hour.

The 11-state bus tour, spearheaded by Americans United for Change, stopped in Chicago Monday morning and saw support from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and workers' right activists in the state, including members of the statewide coalition Raise Illinois as well as Citizen Action-Illinois

“If you work 40 hours a week and you do a good job, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty, and that’s what raising the minimum wage is all about,” said Quinn, who first called for bumping the state's current $8.25 minimum wage to at least $10 an hour during his 2013 State of the State address. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Mar 28

Foster Launches Local Initiative To Promote Job Creation, Economic Development

Illinois public and private sector leaders are joining U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) in an effort to help boost jobs and economic development in Will County and the Chicago region.

Foster kicked off his "Project Growth" initiative at a panel discussion in Joliet on Friday. The endeavor is focused on four key issues: education, manufacturing, strengthening the middle-class and transportation.

“My goal in launching Project Growth is to do deep examinations of what’s working in our communities, what isn’t working, and what we can be doing to better support job creation and more economic development,” the congressman said at the launch of his new initiative. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Mar 20

Chicago's Food Deserts Are A 'Civil Rights Issue', Experts Say

While the population of food deserts may have arguably decreased over recent years in Chicago, a number of obstacles still remain when it comes to expanding access to healthy foods in the city, according to panelists who discussed the topic Thursday afternoon.

The Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hosted the talk in Chicago to hear from public, private and non-profit leaders who work on food access issues. Back in 2011, the committee issued its own report about Chicago food deserts, a problem it says must be addressed as a civil rights issue.

Food deserts are communities that lack healthy, fresh food options. In Chicago, African-American and Latino communities tend to face the greatest food access challenges. The Emanuel administration has worked to expand food access by bringing in new grocery stores, additional farmers markets and more produce carts, among other efforts.

But panelists at the discussion, held at Kennedy-King College on Chicago's South Side, noted that poverty and high prices for healthy foods are big barriers standing in the way of eliminating food deserts.  Read more »