Archive for April 2013

Low-wage workers use minority unionism to fight for $15 minimum wage

Low-wage workers use minority unionism to fight for $15 minimum wage
When Judith Luna went to work at Sears, she never expected to be paid so little that she would seldom be able to shop at the clothing retail store. Nine dollars an hour barely covered her living costs, and it was especially hard when the store barely gave her enough hours to qualify as part-time... Read more »

Chicago Public School closings point up the dangers of geography

Chicago Public School closings point up the dangers of geography
Lametrios West has made a point to separate himself from the trouble around him. Despite heavy rain and steady cracks of lightning, the 14-year-old Kershaw Elementary School student made his way on a recent afternoon to the nearby Teamwork Englewood, a community organization whose after-school programs draw boys and girls from the surrounding area. Here, he holes up to “get out of the neighborhood.” Staying out of trouble means closing himself off from the outside world. “It’s hard but I can do it,” he says. “By staying in the house, going to school, coming here. The only areas where I go is where I know people.”...

In some Chicago neighborhoods, incarceration costs twice as high as education spending

(Click through the map to see just how much was spent on incarceration vs. education in communities impacted by school closures.)...
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Proverbial wall to legalization in new immigration bill is border security

Proverbial wall to legalization in new immigration bill is border security
There are undocumented immigrants in Chicago who crossed the border to get here; came on expired visas and were brought by their parents as minors. They are high school students, university graduates, dishwashers and mothers. Many of these immigrants are my neighbors. And they’ve all been waiting for the immigration legislation that President Barack Obama... Read more »

As new guest worker visa is proposed, report shows poor state of farm workers’ health

As new guest worker visa is proposed, report shows poor state of farm workers’ health
They pick the oranges that we eat to stave off a cold and the tomatoes in our sandwiches and salads. But their occupation is less likely to have health care coverage than any other major category. Seventy-five percent of farm workers in the United States don’t have health insurance, making them “by every measure …... Read more »

Could the Mayor’s plan to stop drinking, public urination worsen crowding at Cook County Jail?

Could the Mayor’s plan to stop drinking, public urination worsen crowding at Cook County Jail?
Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to discourage standard-of-living crimes like drinking, public urination and illegal gambling by doubling the fines and threatening to throw into jail for six months anyone who has skipped out on a hearing and then missed their court date. The move might be able to cut down on the crimes themselves, but... Read more »
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Under the glare of the spotlights, grief

Under the glare of the spotlights, grief
She could tell by the way the phone rang. “I was at work. I was actually in a meeting. Something about the way the phone rang. … I said, ‘Let me get this phone call,’” Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton recalled. She picked up the phone. What would follow was a story that became known around the nation.... Read more »

Why were more than 800 US citizens flagged for possible deportation by immigration authorities?

Why were more than 800 US citizens flagged for possible deportation by immigration authorities?
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has come under fire for casting too wide of a net – some advocates have nicknamed it a “dragnet” – when it asks law enforcement authorities to hold people in local jails under its Secure Communities program. The federal immigration agency placed an “immigration hold” or “detainer” on more than 900,000... Read more »

Domestic workers bill of rights seeks to regulate “wild west” of labor rights abuses

Domestic workers bill of rights seeks to regulate “wild west” of labor rights abuses
Nannies, home-care workers and other domestic workers have long fallen between the cracks of employment law. Eric Rodriguez, executive director of the Latino Union, a workers’ center helping low-wage earners, compared it to the “wild west”–so few labor protections that minimum-wage and overtime violations run rampant in the industry. With a pending Domestic Workers’ Bill... Read more »
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Taxpayers have spent more money incarcerating people than educating them in areas impacted by school closings

No other school district in the country has attempted to do what Chicago Public Schools is planning to do this fall: close more than one in 10 school buildings, the vast majority of them in African-American communities. “With CPS losing enrollment, officials insist that the closings are needed to ‘right-size’ the district, to save money... Read more »