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Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
5:24pm
Thu Jul 31

Chicago Officials To Hold Public Hearing On Crime Stats

Weeks after multiple requests have been made for hearings into the accuracy of Chicago crime data, the Public Safety Commission will hold a public meeting Friday to discuss the issue and its relation to crime and police resources in the city, according to an aldermanic group that has been pushing for such a discussion.

Back in early June, the Chicago Progressive Caucus made a call for a public hearing on Chicago's crime statistics. Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), along with six other members of the Chicago City Council's progressive caucus, asked Ald. James Balcer (21st), the Public Safety Committee chair, to hold a meeting on the issue after questions emerged surrounding the soundness of Chicago Police Department crime data.   Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:33pm
Thu Jul 31

Chicago Fast Food Workers Celebrate NLRB's McDonald's Ruling (VIDEO)

Chanting "Who's the boss? McDonald's!," a group of fast food workers rallied in Chicago on Thursday in response to this week's decision by the National Labor Relations Board's top lawyer, who found that McDonald's could be held liable as an employer in unfair labor practice complaints filed against their franchisees.

The decision issued Tuesday by the NLRB general counsel came in response to unfair labor practice charges brought against McDonald’s and its franchised restaurants in a number of cities, including Chicago, since November of 2012, when fast food workers in New York participated in the first strike against the fast food industry. Among other allegations, the complainants say McDonald's retaliated against workers for organizing.

Though the ruling is preliminary, McDonald's employee Nancy Salgado, who works in the city's Logan Square neighborhood, said fast food workers — who are fighting for $15 an hour and a union — are ecstatic about the decision. 

"All along, we know that corporate is the one in charge of McDonald's [franchised stores], in charge of the workers," Salgado said at Thursday's rally, held outside of the Rock N Roll McDonald's at 600 N. Clark St. "They're always trying to hide from us and say, 'We have nothing to do with (labor practices at the franchises) ... The owner deals with you." Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
5:44pm
Wed Jul 30

Immigrant Rights Advocates Rally After Meeting With ICE Officials Gets Postponed (VIDEO)

After representatives from the Chicago office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) postponed a meeting with immigrant rights organizations, community activists once again rallied in front of the downtown office Wednesday to demand a halt to deportations.

The community groups, such as the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), planned to meet with Chicago Field Office Director Ricardo Wong Wednesday morning to discuss local detention and deportation policies. The meeting was rescheduled for August 25.

“We’ve been trying to get a meeting since February,” said Lawrence Benito, executive director of ICIRR, adding that the community groups were not given a valid explanation. “We’re scratching our heads over this.” Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:06pm
Tue Jul 29

NLRB Finds McDonald's Liable For Actions Of Franchisees; Fast Food Movement Applauds

The National Labor Relations Board's general counsel decided Tuesday that McDonald's can be declared a "joint employer" with its franchise owners in unfair labor practice complaints filed by workers, a preliminary ruling that is a big win for the fast food giant's employees, who are fighting for $15 an hour and a union.

Today's decision by the NLRB's general counsel "shows that McDonald's can no longer hide behind franchisees for illegal treatment of workers," said Kendall Fells, organizing director for the Fast Food Forward workers campaign. "The federal government has found sufficient evidence to charge that McDonald's plays a key role in employment decisions at its stores ... It's clear to workers in these stores that the real boss is really McDonald's, and now, the NLRB general counsel has recognized that as well." Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:11am
Tue Jul 29

Coalition To Revitalize Dyett High School Takes Center Stage At 4th Ward Meeting (VIDEO)

Supporters of keeping Bronzeville's Walter H. Dyett High School open beyond 2015 by turning it into a "global leadership and green technology" open-enrollment high school came out in force to discuss the proposal at a rowdy 4th Ward community meeting Monday evening.

Local Ald. Will Burns (4th) held the meeting to gather community feedback about the future of Dyett, which the Chicago Board of Education voted to phaseout back in 2012 due to poor academic performance. Dyett is slated to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

A community-driven blueprint to offer a global leadership and green technology curriculum at Dyett, along with other programs involving agricultural sciences and cultural awareness, dominated the discussion at the meeting, held at King College Prep High School. The academic plan, developed by community members and academics over several years, is backed by the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, a group spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO).

"Whatever happens at Dyett, it's got to be a high-quality, open-enrollment high school, and so the whole point is to have a process by which we get ideas for what that should be," Burns told Progress Illinois at the meeting, attended by more than 100 people. "I know that KOCO and the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett is very organized and very vocal, but there are other voices in the community, and I want to make sure that they have a way to be heard." Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:51pm
Mon Jul 28

Illinois Activist Groups Protest Rauner Fundraiser (VIDEO)

While New Jersey Governor Chris Christie headlined a fundraiser for Republican Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner Friday evening in the Loop, more than 100 protesters gathered outside the event to decry the pair's conservative stance on a myriad of social issues.

“Both of these politicians pose as moderates, but we’re here to call attention to the fact that both Bruce Rauner and Chris Christie have extreme positions on both the social, as well as the economic pocket book issues,” said William McNary, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:19pm
Mon Jul 28

Union Workers At Skokie Moving Company Strike Over Sluggish Contract Talks (VIDEO)

More than 60 workers at a moving and storage company in Skokie walked off the job Monday as part of an open-ended strike in protest of the firm's slow contract talks with their union.

Workers at Golan's Moving and Storage have been waiting for their first labor contract since winning union representation by Teamsters Local 705 in December. The union represents a core group of about 70 workers at Golan's, plus many temporary employees on 90-day work visas, said Teamsters Local 705 union representative Richard DeVries. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
1:59pm
Fri Jul 25

Chicago Religious Leaders Hold Prayer Vigil To Highlight U.S. Incarceration Epidemic

“You don’t have to pray, believe in the same God or even a God to come to a prayer vigil,” Pastor Thomas R. Gaulke told a small group assembled in a meeting room at First Lutheran Church of the Trinity in Bridgeport. 

Gaulke and the group were finalizing an agenda for a prayer vigil that some 60 people attended last night for the families and friends of loved ones who have been incarcerated. The vigil, which took place in an empty lot on 31st street near the 9th District Chicago police station and the Bridgeport Homes housing project, came together as part of a collaboration between faith leaders like Gaulke and community organizing groups, including Bridgeport Alliance, IIRON and Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:37pm
Fri Jul 25

Immigrant Rights Advocates To Obama: 'Stop Deportations Now' (VIDEO)

Roughly 100 immigrant rights advocates hosted a candlelight vigil Thursday evening near President Barack Obama’s Kenwood neighborhood home, urging the president to take strong and swift administrative action on deportations. 

“The president has said that he will take administrative action to address the immigration crisis, but months after he’s ordered a review of deportations, he has yet to act,” said Lawrence Benito, CEO of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Deportations have reached record highs during Obama’s tenure as president, and Thursday’s protesters marched around his Chicago neighborhood while praying for an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system — and a halt to deportations.

“We join families who bear the brunt of this crisis to call on the president to act boldly and swiftly to fight for families,” Benito said. Read more »