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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:37pm
Mon Apr 20, 2015

Report: 2014 Wall Street Bonuses Were Double The Earnings Of 1 Million Low-Wage Workers

recent report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) reveals that Wall Street employees received $28.5 billion in combined bonuses last year.

That works out to be double the collective annual earnings of the more than one million full-time U.S. workers who made the federal minimum wage in 2014. At the national level, the hourly minimum wage is $7.25.

The $28.5 billion in bonuses was spread out among 167,800 Wall Street bank employees, according to the Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

"The size of the [2014 Wall Street] bonus pool was 27 percent higher than in 2009, the last time Congress increased the minimum wage," reads the report, "Off the Deep End: The Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low-Wage Workers."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:44pm
Fri Apr 17, 2015

Report: Irregular Work Scheduling Affects 17 Percent Of U.S. Workers

Unstable work schedules impact at least 17 percent of the U.S. workforce, with low-wage workers facing irregular shift times the most.

That's according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a Washington, D.C. think tank. The report, "Irregular Work Scheduling and its Consequences," is based on General Social Survey data.

Ten percent of U.S. workers have "irregular and on-call work shift times," combined with another 7 percent "who work split or rotating shifts," according to the research.

Low-wage workers are among the most prone to having unstable schedules, which are associated with longer average hourly workweeks in some occupations. Employees in low-wage industries often have little control over their schedules, the findings showed.

According to the report, irregular scheduling is most common in the following industries: retail trade; finance, insurance, real estate; business, repair services; personal services; entertainment, recreation; and agriculture.

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
5:17pm
Wed Feb 4, 2015

Ethics Group Files Complaint Against Schock Over His Downton Abbey-Inspired Office Decor

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock's (R-IL,18) flashy new office decor could land the ab-baring congressman in hot water.

Earlier this week, Washington Post reporter Ben Terris wrote up a piece detailing the pheasant feathers, black candles, chandelier, red walls and gold picture frames and wall sconces that adorn Schock's new office. It turns out that the room's dramatic decor was inspired by Downton Abbey, a fictional, British TV show set in the early 1900s. At least that's the story Terris got from Annie Brahler, the interior decorator who morphed the dreary Capitol Hill office into an eye-catchingly, bold Hollywood knock off of the popular PBS show.     

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:41pm
Mon Jan 26, 2015

Activists Sound Off On Anti-Abortion Bill Passed By GOP-Led House

Last week, the Republican-controlled U.S. House passed legislation that would permanently block federal funds from being used to pay for abortions and health insurance plans that cover the procedure. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the issue and rounds up some reaction to the measure, which was put forward after GOP leaders dropped a more restrictive bill seeking to ban abortions 20 weeks after conception. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:48pm
Tue Oct 28, 2014

Election Preview: A Look At The 'Toss-Up' 12th Congressional District Race

Progress Illinois profiles the state's 12th congressional district race, which is considered to be a "toss-up."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:17pm
Tue Oct 7, 2014

Workers' Rights Advocates Call For Paid Sick Leave As Chicago Aldermen Move Forward On Ballot Referendum

Chicago voters might have an opportunity during the February municipal election to weigh in on a non-binding ballot referendum about paid sick leave for workers in the city.

The council's Rules Committee passed a resolution at its Tuesday meeting calling for an advisory ballot question on whether employers in Chicago should be required to provide their employees with paid leave in the event of an "illness or public health emergency." The full council could consider the proposal at its meeting this Wednesday. 

Chicago Ald. Joe Moore (49th), one of the sponsors of the referendum resolution, discussed the measure at a forum on paid sick leave and other pro-worker initiatives held this morning at Roosevelt University.

"It's a great organizing tool for those who support paid sick leave," Moore said of the pending citywide referendum, also sponsored by Alds. Joe Moreno (1st) and Will Burns (4th). Moore said he is confident the measure will pass through the full council tomorrow.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:03pm
Mon Sep 8, 2014

Gutierrez: Obama Administration 'Playing It Safe' On Immigration Reform (VIDEO)

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D, IL-4) and immigrant rights activists on Monday blasted President Barack Obama’s decision to delay executive action on immigration reform until after the November elections.

Gutierrez accused Obama and his administration of “playing it safe.”

“Playing it safe means that ‘We’re going to abandon our values and abandon a community that we said we were going to support and defend,'” he said during a press conference Monday morning at Casa Michoacan in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood.

“Playing it safe, maybe it wins elections, maybe it loses elections, but playing it safe rarely leads to fairness, rarely leads to justice and almost never leads to good public policy which you can be proud of,” Gutierrez said.

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