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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:35pm
Thu Apr 23, 2015

Low-Wage Jobs Cost Illinois Taxpayers $1 Billion Annually, Report Finds

Progress Illinois looks at the findings of a new report detailing the "hidden cost of low-wage work" at the national and state levels.

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 Aaron Cynic
6:48pm
Tue Mar 24, 2015

Activists Rally Support For 'A Financial Plan That Puts Chicago’s Communities First'

Community activists say they have an alternative plan for making Chicago fiscally solvent -- and it doesn't rely on cuts that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income people. 

A new report, "Our Kind of Town: A Financial Plan that Puts Chicago's Communities First," targets "predatory financial deals" that cost the city millions of dollars. The paper, crafted by the Refund America Project at the Roosevelt Institute, also suggests a series of progressive taxes could put millions back into the city's coffers.

"What we have is a priorities crisis," said Amisha Patel, executive director of the Grassroots Collaborative at press conference outside the offices of Loop Capital Management. "For decades, budgets in Chicago have been balanced on the backs of working families. In fact, there are a clear set of policy solutions to raise a progressive revenue that our neighborhoods need."

Quick Hit
by Op-Ed
5:45pm
Thu Mar 19, 2015

OP-ED: Our Days of Discontent With Springfield

The following was written by Jennifer Ritter, executive director of ONE Northside.

The March 11 converging of thousands of everyday working people on Springfield demonstrates the level of outrage with Gov. Rauner's budget proposals. These proposals reveal his lack of concern and even contempt for Illinois' working families and those who depend on social safety net services to survive.

The outpouring also demonstrates our dissatisfaction with our legislators' failure to take a stand and develop a plan to raise revenue in order to preserve life-saving programs for the most vulnerable in our society.

People clearly are tired of politicians rigging the system on behalf of big corporations and the wealthy while our families struggle to get by.

Rauner's single-minded focus on cuts without a mention of revenue-generating options that could soften the blow betrays the level of "compassion" the governor said he would demonstrate while in office.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:31pm
Thu Mar 19, 2015

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 Ellyn Fortino
3:03pm
Mon Feb 16, 2015

Report: Progressive Activism Must Target The Fed, Monetary Policy

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, argues that the Federal Reserve should be receiving more scrutiny from progressive activists.

EPI research associate Thomas Palley wrote the report, which also serves as a primer on the how the Federal Reserve, or the Fed, works and offers a blueprint on how to make monetary policy more "job- and wage-friendly."

Over the three decades prior to the Great Recession, Palley says the Fed, the central bank of the United States, "consistently took care of Wall Street first while not caring much about Main Street."

"Since the Great Recession, there has been some shift toward helping ordinary Americans, but even more is needed, and we fervently hope that [Fed] Chair [Janet] Yellen sees this," said Palley, who also serves as AFL-CIO's senior economic policy adviser.

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