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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:49pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: Ridesharing, Guns, Sweatshops, SROs & $15 Minimum Wage

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:16pm
Wed May 21, 2014

CTU Blasts CPS For 'Unfulfilled' Promises On School Closings

One year after the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 "underutilized" public schools, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) says the district has not delivered on various promises to invest in the designated "welcoming schools" that took in displaced students.

“Shuttering our schools was touted as a hard and difficult choice by the mayor and the board, but this was the easy, draconian choice,” CTU President Karen Lewis said in a statement. “Parents, teachers, and the public demanded resources and supports for these education communities. Sadly, by making promises that remain unfulfilled, these schools and the students they serve have been dealt yet another blow — from failed policy to broken promises.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:56pm
Thu Apr 24, 2014

On Anniversary Of Bangladesh Factory Tragedy, Activists Demand Safer Conditions For Walmart Workers (VIDEO)

One year after a Bangladesh factory that produced Walmart clothing collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people, the retailer is still turning a blind eye to dangerous conditions in their supply chain, according to a group of activists who staged a protest Thursday on the North Side of Chicago.

“We’ve been seeing problems after problems in Walmart’s contracted warehouses and it’s time Walmart step up and take responsibility and fix these problems,” said Mark Meinster, campaign director for Warehouse Workers for Justice.

Meinster was one of more than two dozen people who protested Thursday outside Chicago’s Walmart Express, at 2844 N. Broadway, to demand better wages and improved working conditions for employees of the world’s largest retailer and its factories.

“Walmart could easily have fixed the problems in Bangladesh, and they could easily fix problems in their warehouses here in the U.S., but so far they’ve refused to do so,” Meinster said.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:52pm
Mon Apr 7, 2014

Bangladeshi Garment Workers, UIC Students Join Forces In Call For Improved Factory Conditions

Nearly a year after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, two organizers of the Bangladeshi labor movement encouraged University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) students to continue pressuring clothing companies to sign an important workplace safety accord.

Aleya Akter, 29, general secretary of the Bangladeshi Garment and Industrial Workers Federation, and Aklima Khanam, 20, a garment worker who survived the deadly Rana Plaza disaster, visited the university Monday.

"I want to tell university students [that] we're making clothing for you, so do you want us to be in factories like Rana Plaza … where workers are dying," Khanam asked while speaking through a translator.

The UIC's chapter of the United Students Against Sweatshops, a student run-organization active on more than 150 college campuses in North America, hosted Monday's discussion about the continued struggle for garment worker safety in Bangladesh.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
8:51pm
Thu Apr 3, 2014

Reproductive Rights Advocates Demand Repeal Of Illinois' Abortion Notification Law (VIDEO)

Reproductive rights advocates and several youths took to Springfield Thursday to speak out against a state law requiring parental notification before a minor can obtain abortion services. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the Chicago Abortion Fund and the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) hosted the day of advocacy at the Capitol to call for a repeal of the state's Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995, a law activists say puts teens in harm's way. 

"For many young women, having a family member notified is equivalent to them being abused, being kicked out of their home, or being forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will," stressed Allie Carter, advocacy and outreach director at the ACLU of Illinois. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:19am
Mon Aug 19, 2013

Pilsen Community Holds Vigil After CPS Demolishes Whittier Elementary Fieldhouse (VIDEO)

Pilsen community members held a Saturday afternoon vigil outside Whittier Elementary to mourn the loss of the school’s fieldhouse, which was completely demolished earlier that morning due to safety concerns cited by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

Community members and parents said CPS gave them no notice before demolition crews showed up Friday night to start tearing down the fieldhouse, known as La Casita, that served as a volunteer-run community center owned by CPS.

A number of protestors spent the night outside the fieldhouse Friday, and 10 people were arrested after they tried to stop the building from being leveled early Saturday morning. Chicago Police News Affairs confirmed on Sunday that nine individuals were charged with criminal trespass and one protestor was charged with criminal damage to property, both of which are misdemeanors.

“I am outraged,” La Casita’s Executive Director Lisa Angonese said at the vigil as bulldozers cleared away the rubble. “This is completely uncalled for. They came in unannounced. They showed us no work permits with no notice. Not even a knock on the door. Not even a phone call.”

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