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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.

Quick Hit
by Op-Ed
12:52pm
Wed Mar 18

OP-ED: On February 24th, Chicago’s Working Families Said: 'Fool Us Once…'

The following is written by Keith Kelleher is president of SEIU* Healthcare Illinois Indiana.

Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to knock on doors throughout Chicago for our mayoral and aldermanic candidates.  What stood out in almost every conversation I had was the length and breadth of disappointment with the policies of Mayor Rahm Emanuel from voters. 

Mostly, people felt they had been fooled by Rahm.

The dissatisfaction with the Mayor and his policies and those of his rubber-stamp aldermen was fully revealed on Election Day when Jesus "Chuy" Garcia defied all the polls and ended with 34% of the vote, almost double what most polls were predicting. The election forced the mayor into a runoff --  along with many aldermen previously assumed to be "safe" -- a ringing denunciation of both the mayor and his policies and of his aldermanic allies.

Quick Hit
by Op-Ed
9:31pm
Tue Mar 10

Op-Ed: Rauner's Budget Plan Gives Young Illinoisans 'Cause For Concern'

The following was written by Brenna Conway, the Illinois Director for the Roosevelt Institute -- Campus Network.

On the campaign trail, Governor Bruce Rauner shared very little about how he would tackle Illinois' extreme budget crisis. His messaging told us there was a plan, that the focus would be improving the business climate of our state and resolving our overwhelming pension problem, but not how we'd achieve these goals. As we finish up his first month on the job we now have a glimpse into both that plan and his style as a chief executive. The question is, are these things that young people in Illinois can support?

It's clear that the governor has a laser-like focus on our state's fiscal problems, and with a "credible debt projection of over $9 billion for fiscal year 2016," such a focus is vitally important to getting us back on track. But his tactics thus far do not reflect they way that young people in Illinois are hoping to solve our state's problems.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:15pm
Fri Feb 20

Report: 2014 Wages Stayed Flat Or Declined For Almost All U.S. Workers

Real hourly wages remained flat or fell for nearly all U.S. workers in 2014, including those with a college degree, according to an analysis of new wage data by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a liberal think tank.

"Last year was yet another year of poor wage growth for American workers," reads EPI's study, which looked at the most recent and available wage data by decile and educational attainment. Wage data was examined for workers in the bottom 10th percentile up to the 95th percentile.

In 2014, real wages among top earners fell by 1 percent at the 95th percentile and 0.7 percent at the 90th percentile, according to the analysis released Thursday. U.S. workers with either a four-year college degree or an advanced degree also saw their inflation-adjusted hourly wages drop by 1.3 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

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