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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:38pm
Mon Jun 2, 2014

Manufacturing, Green Infrastructure Co-Ops Offer Job Opportunities For Chicago Youth

Several Chicago youths are taking part in efforts to increase democracy in the workplace while tackling economic and environmental issues in their neighborhoods through the use of innovative business cooperatives owned and controlled by workers.

Young people from the city's Austin and Rogers Park communities discussed their involvement with cooperative businesses, which are entities owned and managed collectively by workers, at a 2014 Worker Cooperative National Conference held over the weekend at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In the West Side neighborhood of Austin, an impoverished community struggling with high rates of unemployment and crime, students at the manufacturing-focused Austin Polytechnical Academy launched a business cooperative at their school last year called Mech Creations, which makes trumpet mouthpieces. And on the city's far North Side in Rogers Park, which also faces issues of unemployment and crime, young people are participating in a worker cooperative focused on green infrastructure called Grassroots Ecology. The North Side youth-focused cooperative started building green infrastructure, including rain gardens and barrels to mitigate flooding, in 2012 and plans to incorporate as a limited liability company with cooperative by-laws this fall.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:20pm
Mon Apr 28, 2014

Chicago Anti-War Activists Target Boeing Over Pursuit Of Navy Drone Contract

Anti-war activists on Monday morning picketed outside of the Boeing Company's annual shareholders meeting in Chicago, calling on the aerospace company to drop its bid to win the U.S. Navy contract for the next generation carrier-based drone known as the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft.

Chicago-based Boeing and three other companies — General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman — are vying to work on the naval drone, which would be able to launch from an aircraft carrier. 

Ten protestors with the Anti-War Committee gathered outside of Chicago's Field Museum, where Boeing's shareholders meeting was being held, to urge the company to build something better than "deadly weapons." 

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
7:13pm
Fri Mar 28, 2014

Foster Launches Local Initiative To Promote Job Creation, Economic Development

Illinois public and private sector leaders are joining U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) in an effort to help boost jobs and economic development in Will County and the Chicago region.

Foster kicked off his "Project Growth" initiative at a panel discussion in Joliet on Friday. The endeavor is focused on four key issues: education, manufacturing, strengthening the middle-class and transportation.

“My goal in launching Project Growth is to do deep examinations of what’s working in our communities, what isn’t working, and what we can be doing to better support job creation and more economic development,” the congressman said at the launch of his new initiative.

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