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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:34pm
Mon Oct 19, 2015

Report Makes Case Against Restricting Public-Sector Collective Bargaining Rights

In a new report, Jeffrey Keefe with the Economic Policy Institute blasts the notion that collective bargaining has caused "excessive" pay for public-sector workers. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:41pm
Mon Feb 24, 2014

Chicago-Area Residents Urge State Lawmakers To Address Social Service 'Crisis' In Illinois

The health and human services system in Illinois is in "crisis," according to Chicago-area residents who pressed state lawmakers at a public forum Friday night to address problems facing social safety net programs.

At the forum held at St. Ita's Church in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, residents provided personal testimony on a number of issues, including understaffed Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) offices and inadequate wages paid to frontline service workers, to name a few.

A coalition of labor and community groups hosted the event, including Alliance for the Community Services, AFSCME Local 2858, IMPRUVE, Northside Action For Justice and SEIU* Local 73.

The coalition specifically wants a wage bump for direct service professionals, more assigned caseworkers in DHS offices and the restoration of Medicaid prescription drug and dental benefits.

State lawmakers in attendance, including Chicago Democrats State Sen. Heather Steans and State Reps. Kelly Cassidy and Greg Harris, all pledged to help bring change and increased funding to Illinois' health and human services system. But the first order of business, the elected officials said, is addressing the state's revenue dilemma.

Quick Hit
by
11:37am
Mon Nov 11, 2013

Op-Ed: Chicago Faith Leaders Decry Privatization Of Public Sector Jobs

Chicago's faith leaders joined forces to push back against privatization and the loss of public sector jobs.

Drawing on our sacred Scriptures which inform us that all people are created in the image of God, thereby deserving of dignity, we believe all working people need wages and benefits that will sustain them and their families. We further believe that it is in the best interest of a community to have its public-sector jobs held under the auspices of the community, not an outside contractor who too often stands to profit by exploiting the workforce and offering sub-standard services.

The great City of Chicago has witnessed a growing number of government jobs being handed over to the private sector in order to “cut expenses.” However, the decision-making process has not been transparent and there was no opportunity for public review of the private contracts. These decisions have far-reaching consequences and need to be brought into the light of public scrutiny and debate.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:03pm
Fri Aug 16, 2013

Study: University Pension Plan Would Weaken Financial Security Of Retirees

A pension reform proposal endorsed by various Illinois university presidents would erode retirement security for public employees and make it harder for schools to recruit and retain talented teachers, two authors of a new study say.

The pension plan, known as the “Universities” proposal, is currently under consideration by the Illinois General Assembly’s conference committee tasked with crafting compromise legislation to address the state’s nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.

Howard Wial, an associate research professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of the Pennsylvania-based Keystone Research Center, analyzed the pension proposal as part of their study released Wednesday.

The pension proposal, put forth by a group of scholars from the University of Illinois and Northern Illinois University, focuses on the State Universities Retirement System. Members of the pension conference committee have said they are looking at ways to adapt the plan for other retirement systems.

“Policymakers need to recognize that this plan represents a very deep cut to public pension benefits despite the consensus that state underfunding, not public-sector employees, is responsible for Illinois’ pension challenges,” Herzenberg said in a statement.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:19pm
Thu Aug 15, 2013

Activists Want An Immediate End To Illinois' Medicaid Privatization Contract

Activists with the Alliance for Community Services protested at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Chicago office Thursday morning demanding that the state immediately end its $76 million contract with a private, for-profit company hired to “scrub” the Medicaid rolls.

Following a grievance filed by AFSCME, an arbitrator ruled back in June that the state must end its two-year contract with Maximus Health Services Inc. by December 31 because it violates the state’s contract with the union. Arbitrator Edwin Benn ruled that state employees should be doing the work to investigate Medicaid fraud, not Maximus, the outside contractor.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:14pm
Tue Jul 9, 2013

Chicago Activists Speak Out Against Public Service Cuts, Offer Alternatives

The concept of a social safety net in Illinois is under attack, according to Chicago activists who spoke out at a forum Monday evening regarding threats to public services. Members of the the Alliance For Community Services and other groups offered up various ways to avoid future social services cuts. Progress Illinois was there to learn more.

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