Category Archives: Chicago

Walmart’s First-Ever Retail Worker Strike Spreads To 12 Cities

WALMART-STRIKEby Alice Hines, Huffington Post, October 9, 2012

The first retail worker strike against Walmart has spread from Los Angeles, where it began last week, to stores in a dozen cities, a union official said Tuesday.

Walmart workers walked off the job in Dallas, Seattle, the San Francisco Bay area, Miami, the Washington, D.C., area, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Chicago and Orlando, said Dan Schlademan, director of the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Making Change At Walmart campaign. Workers also went on strike in parts of Kentucky, Missouri and Minnesota, he said.

Tuesday’s walkouts included 88 workers from 28 stores — a minuscule fraction of the 1.4 million who work at Walmart, the world’s largest private employer. Until Friday, when about 60 Walmart employees walked off the job for a day in LA, no Walmart retail workers had ever gone on strike, the union said.

The workers are protesting company attempts to “silence and retaliate against workers for speaking out for improvements on the job,” according to a United Food and Commercial Workers news release. Walmart workers, who are not unionized, have long complained of low pay and a lack of benefits.  Continue reading

Chicago Area Walmart Supply Workers End Strike, Win Back Pay

walmart suppliers on strikeby Matthew Blake, Progress Illinois, October 9, 2012

Employees at a giant Walmart supply warehouse in rural Will County returned to work Saturday after staging a 21-day strike in response to alleged employer retaliation by a Walmart subcontractor.

The settlement with RoadLink – a California-based subcontractor that helps staff Schneider Logistics, the Walmart warehouse in Elwood – comes amid a historic walkout by Walmart retail workers throughout the country. It also follows Walmart supply workers in the Los Angeles area ending their own strike.

According to Phillip Bailey, a striking RoadLink employee, the 38 workers on strike received letters in the mail from the company in which they rescinded their retaliation action. The subcontractor also welcomed workers back to the warehouse and provided back pay for their three weeks on the picket line.

Bailey says the settlement is “thrilling” and “absolutely empowering”, but it will take “years and hundreds more people” to improve the working conditions of Walmart supply warehouses. Continue reading

History of Chicago Teachers Strikes

This documentary fills the void of context and perspective that our local corporate owned media refuse to report. This video is produced by CORE, Caucus of Rank and File Educators of the Chicago Teachers Union.

Chicago Teachers Say They’ll Strike for the Kids

CTU Informational Picket

After weeks of stalled negotiations with the school board, the Chicago Teachers Union is inching ever closer to a strike, as educators say they are willing to fight to get appropriate services in all schools.

by Therese Moran, Labor Notes

Chicago teachers starting back to work this week might not want to get too comfortable in their classrooms. After weeks of stalled negotiations with the school board, the Chicago Teachers Union is inching ever closer to a strike.

On Wednesday the union’s House of Delegates authorized President Karen Lewis to give the board a 10-day strike notice at her discretion. Though Illinois teachers, unlike those in many states, have the legal right to strike, under last year’s anti-teacher law they have to notify the school board 10 days ahead of going out. Ninety percent of teachers—and 98 percent of those voting—voted to authorize a strike in June.

CTU Financial Secretary Kristine Mayle says the union still hopes to avoid a strike, but is prepared to walk if necessary.

“Of course our teachers want to be in the classroom with our students, but we realize this is a bigger fight for the good of public education,” Mayle said. “The future of public education in Chicago will be threatened if we don’t take action now. “

The union’s top priority is a “better school day” for all of Chicago’s students, one that would include art, music, gym, recess, and foreign languages. CTU wants smaller class sizes and wraparound services like social workers, counselors, and school nurses to make sure that the district’s mostly poor students get the support they need.

The district, on the other hand, has been slashing services for years and cites a $665 million anticipated budget deficit for next year. Many schools lack basic playground or gym equipment and 160 are without libraries. Continue reading

Chicago Teachers Win Relief in Longer Day Battle, but War Not Over

CTU members at Puerto Rican Day Paradeby Theresa Moran, Labor Notes, July 25, 2012

The Chicago Teachers Union won a major victory yesterday when the city halted its plans to increase teacher work hours.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago school board announced in April that they were unilaterally increasing the school day by 20 percent in the fall—without increasing teaching staff or providing proportional compensation for the additional hours.

Chicago teachers already work an average of 58 hours a week, according to a recent report. Under Illinois labor law, the board is not required to negotiate with teachers over work hours.  Continue reading

Hyatt scores point in union dispute, but battle to escalate

UNITE Here RallyUnite Here expected to call for global boycott of hotel chain

By Kathy Bergen, Chicago Tribune

Hyatt Hotels Corp. chalked up a win this week in its three-year standoff with the hotel workers union, but the battle is expected to escalate Monday with a union call for a global boycott.

Richard Killiher-Paz, the acting regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago, found merit in unfair labor practice charges brought by Hyatt in relation to contract talks here. To resolve the allegations, the NLRB office drafted a settlement agreement that two Unite Here locals signed early this week. Continue reading

Effects of SB7 collective bargaining provisions being felt in CTU vs. CPS negotiations

Effects of SB7 collective bargaining provisions being felt in CTU vs. CPS negotiations

When Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis announced Wednesday that the CTU was rejecting the arbitrator’s suggestions in the fact-finding report, she said it was because important grievances like class sizes and the longer school day were not even brought to the bargaining table.

That’s because two education reform bills, one passed in 1995 and the other passed last year, narrowed the range of issues that can be discussed during collective bargaining. Continue reading

Saying It’s Not about the Money, Chicago Teachers Inch Closer to Strike

CTU rallyby Theresa Moran, July 18, 2012,  Labor Notes

The Chicago Teachers Union stepped closer to a strike as it voted today to reject an arbitrator’s recommendations in the contract dispute with “Mayor 1%” Rahm Emanuel.

Though the arbitrator’s economic proposals are far more favorable than the city’s, CTU leaders say they advised delegates to reject the report. The union’s House of Delegates voted it down unanimously.

Kristine Mayle, CTU financial secretary, says she opposes the report because it fails to take into account the full scope of the union’s concerns. “It doesn’t address the education issues that we’re concerned about,” she said. Continue reading

UIC Worker Strike Will Begin May 30, Run For Three Days

UIC WORKERS STRIKEfrom Huffington Post

More than 80 percent of University of Illinois Chicago medical support staff will engage in a three-day strike starting May 30 unless they reach a new contract agreement with administrators.

A group of nearly 500 university staff members has been lobbying for pay raises, but the workers’ union says they have yet to receive an equitable offer, according to a release from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73. Continue reading