WBEZ | minimum wage http://www.wbez.org/tags/minimum-wage Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Airport Workers Around The Country Rally For Better Wages http://www.wbez.org/news/airport-workers-around-country-rally-better-wages-114503 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-505556818_wide-78d43afa0117421ecc8bb91e33627dfef4b6fdf1-s1600-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Around the country Monday, hundreds of airport workers protested in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.</p><p>From Newark, N.J., to Washington, D.C., to Chicago and Miami workers called for a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour.</p><p>In Newark, workers carried picket signs of Martin Luther King through the airport.</p><p>&quot;If Dr. King were alive today, he would be standing alongside of us,&quot; said Kevin Brown, New Jersey&#39;s state director of the local service employees union, 32BJ SEIU.</p><p>Some in the crowd were between work shifts at the airport. But many had the day off from working as baggage handlers and airplane cabin cleaners, including 51-year-old America Hernandez of Newark.</p><p>Hernandez works for PrimeFlight, a contractor for United Airlines. She cleans about 20 airplane cabins, from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., for $10.10 an hour.</p><p>Hernandez says her salary is enough to pay the bills for her and her four children, but what&#39;s left over, she says, is not enough to even buy a piece of candy.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re just tired of struggling just to get by. It&#39;s too much living paycheck to paycheck,&quot; says Raquel Brito, a baggage handler at Chicago O&#39;Hare International Airport.</p><p>The 20-year-old makes $11 an hour. That&#39;s why, Brito says, she protested Monday outside United Airlines&#39; headquarters in Chicago. Fifteen dollars, she says, is a an hourly wage she can actually live on.</p><p>United Airlines and PrimeFlight did not respond to NPR&#39;s interview requests before broadcast.</p><p>Today&#39;s protests come during a national debate about minimum wage increases.</p><p>Some economists say it&#39;s not clear what the actual economic impact of an increase would be.</p><p>&quot;We don&#39;t really have any great confidence about what a $15 minimum wage would mean, whether across the board or for a particular set of workers,&quot; says David Neumark, an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine.</p><p>In general, he says, raising the minimum wage for workers also raises prices of products and services.</p><p>&quot;At some level, they increase prices,&quot; he says. &quot;People buy less from those businesses, and those businesses use fewer workers. And that channel is arguably a lot weaker at airports.&quot;</p><p>Neumark argues that raising airport wages wouldn&#39;t necessarily have a big impact on whether travelers buy plane tickets. &quot;People at airports aren&#39;t poor on average,&quot; he says. &quot;It&#39;s a high-income segment of the population going through airports.&quot;</p><p>The wages of airport workers also don&#39;t make up the bulk of what it costs to fly, according to Arin Dube, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.</p><p>&quot;When you think about what goes into the cost of flying from, let&#39;s say, Boston to San Francisco, the cost of baggage handlers and other low-wage workers in wages, in determining the cost of flying, is very tiny,&quot; Dube says.</p><p>He argues that higher minimum wages could result in a benefit to airline companies. &quot;When you raise wages of low-wage workers at the airport, you may also increase their productivity,&quot; Dube says.</p><p>Neumark though, isn&#39;t convinced. He says having to pay more for low-skilled workers at airports may push companies to hire more higher-skilled workers instead.</p><p><em>- via <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/18/463503921/airport-workers-around-the-country-rally-for-better-wages?ft=nprml&amp;f=463503921">NPR</a></em></p></p> Tue, 19 Jan 2016 07:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/airport-workers-around-country-rally-better-wages-114503 Fast food protesters set sights on presidential candidates http://www.wbez.org/news/fast-food-protesters-set-sights-presidential-candidates-113730 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_15643403713.jpg" style="height: 407px; width: 620px;" title="(AP Photo/Andre Penner)" /></div><p>NEW YORK &mdash; Workers from McDonald&#39;s, Taco Bell and other chain restaurants protested in cities around the country Tuesday to push fast-food companies to pay them at least $15 an hour.</p><p>The protesters also had a message for presidential candidates: Support the cause or lose their vote next year.</p><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/comegetmyvotescreenshot.JPG" style="height: 273px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="(Screenshot of landing page and petition on fightfor15.org)" /><p>The fast food protests were planned by organizers at more than 270 cities nationwide, part of an ongoing campaign called &quot;Fight for $15.&quot; Janitors, nursing home workers and package delivery workers also joined some protests, organizers said.</p><p>Dominique McCrae, who serves fried chicken and biscuits at a Bojangles&#39; restaurant for $7.55 an hour, joined a protest outside a McDonald&#39;s in Durham, North Carolina. Her pay isn&#39;t enough to cover rent or diapers for her child, the 23-year-old says. She dropped out of college to care for her grandfather, making finances tight.</p><p>&quot;We just want to be able to support our families,&quot; says McCrae, who has worked at Bojangles&#39; for two months.</p><p>A representative for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bojangles&#39; Inc. did not respond to a request for comment.</p><p>The campaign began about three years ago and is funded by the Service Employees International Union, which represents low-wage workers. Several protests have been scheduled in front of fast food restaurants, garnering media attention.</p><p>This time workers are pledging not to vote for presidential candidates that do not support the campaign. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both showed their support through Tweets on Tuesday.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Fast-food, home care, child care workers: Your advocacy is changing our country for the better. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Fightfor15?src=hash">#Fightfor15</a> -H</p>&mdash; Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) <a href="https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/status/664070444425826304">November 10, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">What workers all over the United States are doing is having a profound impact. This is your movement. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FightFor15?src=hash">#FightFor15</a> <a href="https://t.co/WmgZV9nj5d">https://t.co/WmgZV9nj5d</a></p>&mdash; Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) <a href="https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/664111126771200000">November 10, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><p>A protest was also planned near the Republican debates in Milwaukee Tuesday night, organizers said.</p><p>McDonald&#39;s worker Adriana Alvarez says she plans to vote for the first time next year, but only for a candidate who wants to raise wages to $15 an hour. Alvarez, who is 23 and lives in&nbsp;Chicago, says she makes $10.50 an hour. Higher pay can help her move out of the moldy basement apartment she shares with her 3-year-old son.</p><p>&quot;I can find a better place,&quot; she says.</p><p>The protests are occurring against a backdrop of weak wage growth nationwide. Average hourly pay has increased at roughly a 2.2 percent annual rate since the recession ended more than six years ago.</p><p>In the retail, hotel and restaurant industries, average hourly pay for front-line workers &mdash; the roughly 80 percent who aren&#39;t managers or supervisors &mdash; is below $15. It was $14.90 in the retail industry in October, the Labor Department said last week, and $13.82 for hotel employees. Restaurant workers, on average, earned $11.51 an hour.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">&quot;It&#39;s unfair 2 work for a multibillion $ company &amp; not be able to afford a bus pass&quot;-Terrence,McD wrkr <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FightFor15?src=hash">#FightFor15</a> <a href="https://t.co/BXYXKLu6M0">pic.twitter.com/BXYXKLu6M0</a></p>&mdash; Fight For 15 Chicago (@chifightfor15) <a href="https://twitter.com/chifightfor15/status/664169192338366464">November 10, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Economists have long debated the impact of raising the minimum wage, and some recent research has found that modest increases seldom cost many jobs.</p><p>But a jump to $15 an hour would be more than double the federal minimum of $7.25 &mdash; a much higher increase than what economists have studied. It would also be far above the minimum wage&#39;s previous peak of just under $11, adjusted for inflation, in 1968.</p><p>McDonald&#39;s Corp., based in Oak Brook, Illinois, said in a statement Tuesday that wages at U.S. restaurants it owns increased $1 over the local minimum wage in July. The world&#39;s largest hamburger chain said the move affected more than 90,000 employees.</p><p>Rival Burger King, which is owned by Canada-based Restaurant Brands International Inc., said it supports &quot;the right to demonstrate and hope any demonstrators will respect the safety of our restaurant guests and employees.&quot; It also said it franchisees that own the restaurants make wage decisions, not the corporate company.</p><p>A representative from Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum Brands Inc., the company behind Taco Bell and KFC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 10 Nov 2015 15:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/fast-food-protesters-set-sights-presidential-candidates-113730 Raising the minimum wage puts a city at odds with lawmakers http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-06/raising-minimum-wage-puts-city-odds-lawmakers-113192 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Supporters of Min Wage increase.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><div id="file-293415"><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Supporters of a higher minimum wage came out in force when the St. Louis Board of Aldermen held a hearing on the issue. (Marketplace/Jason Rosenbaum)" id="1" src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/styles/primary-image-766x447/public/Supporters%20of%20Min%20Wage%20increase.jpg?itok=9Yy0e05l" style="height: 350px; width: 600px;" title="Supporters of a higher minimum wage came out in force when the St. Louis Board of Aldermen held a hearing on the issue. (Marketplace/Jason Rosenbaum)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><div>Bettie Douglas could barely contain her excitement when St. Louis raised its minimum wage. Dressed&nbsp;in her black McDonald&rsquo;s uniform, Douglas crammed into St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay&rsquo;s office earlier this year after the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved legislation raising the city&rsquo;s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018.</div></div></div><div><div id="story-content"><p>After Slay signed the bill into law, Douglas predicted the bill would mean a little more money in her pocket &mdash; and a lot more piece of mind. &nbsp;&ldquo;I need to be able to eat, be able to take myself,&rdquo; Douglas says. &ldquo;And I can see in the future I won&rsquo;t have to rob Peter to pay Paul.&quot;</p><p>With a stroke of Slay&rsquo;s pen, St. Louis joined more than 25 cities and counties that raised its minimum wage independently from the rest of the state. It&rsquo;s part of a nationwide movement that&rsquo;s struck a chord with labor unions, left-leaning activists and Democratic politicians like St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Green.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think that any person who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty,&rdquo; Green says. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s what we have right now. Somebody who&rsquo;s making minimum wage is earning $16,000 a year roughly. You can&rsquo;t raise a family on that. You can&rsquo;t get an apartment on that &ndash; at least not a decent apartment. And it makes it very difficult to break that cycle of poverty.&rdquo;</p><p>But St. Louis&rsquo; minimum wage push came with a big catch. Not only is the new law facing a fierce legal attack from businesses and business groups, but it&rsquo;s being met with some serious push-back from the Republican-controlled Missouri General Assembly.</p><p>Missouri lawmakers overrode a gubernatorial veto of legislation banning cities from raising their own minimum wage. The bill effectively invalidated Kansas City&rsquo;s minimum wage hike and prevents any other city from following St. Louis&rsquo; lead.</p><p>If St. Louis&rsquo; minimum wage law survives a legal challenge, the city could have a higher wage scale than the rest of the state. That&rsquo;s alarming enough for Cooperative Health Care owner Mitch Waks to threaten to leave St. Louis if the minimum wage hike goes into effect.</p><p>&ldquo;If the economics force us out of business, what is the alternative?&rdquo; Waks says. &ldquo;Well, you can start caring for your mom and I applaud that.&rdquo;</p><div><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Cooperative Home Healthcare owner Mitch Waks spoke against the minimum wage increase at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen committee hearing. (Marketplace/Jason Rosenbaum)" src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/Waks%20min%20wage.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" title="Cooperative Home Healthcare owner Mitch Waks spoke against the minimum wage increase at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen committee hearing. (Marketplace/Jason Rosenbaum)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><div><p>Some St. Louis aldermen who opposed the minimum wage bill &mdash; such as St. Louis Alderman Antonio French &mdash; felt that the city was putting itself at a major competitive disadvantage. He thought it was a &nbsp;mistake to go through with the wage increase without surrounding counties following suit.</p></div></div><p>&ldquo;I want people to remember this vote today how we&rsquo;ve changed the economy in the city of St. Louis and how we&rsquo;ve done something alone when didn&rsquo;t have to do it,&rdquo; French says. &ldquo;We did it without the proper information. And it&rsquo;s going to hurt the folks that I think many people are intending to help.&rdquo;</p><p>So did St. Louis just shoot itself in the foot from an economic standpoint? It depends on who you ask.</p><p>David Wiczer, an economist at the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve, says the &ldquo;potential cost of a minimum wage is in effect a detrimental effect on employment, which is difficult to observe in the data.&rdquo; He went on to say that &ldquo;if it (a detrimental effect) &nbsp;is there, it&rsquo;s very small.&rdquo;</p><p>But Wiczer says there&rsquo;s &ldquo;anecdotal evidence&rdquo; that a minimum wage hike&rsquo;s employment effect &ldquo;happens with a lag.&rdquo;</p><p>&quot;At some point in the future, the job growth in this locality is slower than somewhere else. And that&rsquo;s the result of all of these small-level decisions affirmed to not locate in one area and locate then in another area. And there is research that shows that if there is an employment effect, it often happens with a lag,&rdquo; Wiczer says.</p><p>Jake Rosenfeld is a sociology professor at Washington University in St. Louis. He just moved back here from Seattle, where novice baristas and fishmongers will eventually make $15 an hour thanks to a local minimum wage increase.</p><p>Rosenfeld says minimum wage boosts aren&rsquo;t completely inconsequential to businesses. But he says companies shouldn&rsquo;t panic either.</p><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re an employer in the city and you&rsquo;re only competitive advantage is paying rock bottom wages, then yes. A minimum wage increase is going to be alarming. But there are other ways businesses compete,&rdquo; Rosenfeld says. &ldquo;This is a tried and true tactic that you can compete on things like productivity, on having the best most productive workers. And having this differential between surrounding areas actually does provide an advantage to those employers who see themselves as kind of &#39;high road&#39; employers who take care of their employees and in return get higher productivity out of them.&rdquo;</p><p>But St. Louis&rsquo; minimum wage law isn&rsquo;t set in stone quite yet. A court case over its legality is set to begin in October.</p></div></div><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/wealth-poverty/raising-minimum-wage-puts-city-odds-lawmakers" target="_blank"><em>via Marketplace</em></a></p></p> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 09:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-06/raising-minimum-wage-puts-city-odds-lawmakers-113192 Sanders calls on students to join his fight in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/sanders-calls-students-join-his-fight-chicago-113088 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_441526762664.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;&mdash; Bernie Sanders is calling on thousands of college students to join him in fighting for a $15 minimum wage and women&#39;s rights.</p><div><p>The Democratic presidential candidate and independent senator from Vermont spoke Monday before about 2,000 students at the University of&nbsp;Chicago.</p><p>Sanders graduated in 1964 from the university, where as a student he led protests against racial segregation.</p><p>The event had echoes of those held by President Barack Obama, who campaigned aggressively on college campuses and relied on young voters to help him win two terms.</p><p>Obama also taught at the university, which is near his&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;home and the future site of his presidential library.</p><p>Sanders says, &quot;We need the idealism and the energy and the intelligence of millions of young people to join us.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<em> via The Associated Press</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 28 Sep 2015 12:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sanders-calls-students-join-his-fight-chicago-113088 The culture of tipping worldwide http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-09-01/culture-tipping-worldwide-112796 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/torbakhopper.jpg" title="(Photo: Flickr/Torbakhopper)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221912714&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Global tipping customs</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>In Japan, it&rsquo;s considered rude to tip. In China, tipping is pretty uncommon. But in the U.S., more than 90 percent of Americans tip, and they tip across more sectors, than anywhere else. As more cities in the U.S. increase their minimum wage, many restaurants say they&rsquo;re are considering getting rid of tipping altogether. We&rsquo;ll take a look at attitudes toward tipping in the U.S. and around the globe with Professor Holona Ochs, and author Pola Henderson.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><ul><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-355cec19-8aa7-8955-c7e0-35feccde2114">Holona Ochs </span>is an associate professor of political science at Lehigh University and co-author of the book &#39;Gratuity&#39;. </em></li><li><em><a href="http://twitter.com/jettingaround">Pola Henderson</a> is&nbsp;a travel writer and publicist. She writes the blog Jetting Around. She&rsquo;s originally from Krakow, Poland and these days she splits her time between Chicago and Paris. She&rsquo;s also lived in Ecuador.</em></li></ul><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221913048&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">The extinction of the Passenger Pigeon</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>In the U.S., the passenger pigeon was plenteous in number, but on September 1st, 1914, the last passenger pigeon died. We&rsquo;ll talk about why the bird vanished with historian John Schmidt, author of the book &#39;On This Day in Chicago History&#39;.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-355cec19-8aab-75e3-7b08-f47cac172021"><a href="http://twitter.com/JRSchmidtPhD">John Schmidt</a> is the author of &#39;</span>On This Day in Chicago History&#39; and edits the &#39;Chicago History Today&#39; blog.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221913693&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Journalists convicted and setenced in Egypt</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Over the weekend a court in Egypt sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to three years in jail. The journalists were found guilty of &ldquo;aiding a terrorist organization.&rdquo; The decision came after a lengthy retrial. In a previous trial, all three were convicted on charges that included conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood, endangering national security and spreading false news. The trial has received a great deal of media attention. One of the defendants, Mohamed Fahmy, is represented by Amal Clooney, a prominent human rights lawyer and the wife of actor George Clooney. Clooney says she plans to seek a presidential pardon for her client. We&rsquo;ll discuss the case with jouranlist Yasmin El-Rifae.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-355cec19-8aae-32a5-10cf-bf30444b3f54"><a href="http://twitter.com/yasminelrifae">Yasmin El-Rifae</a> is the Middle East and North Africa research associate at the<a href="http://twitter.com/pressfreedom"> Committee to Protect Journalists</a>.&nbsp;</span></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 01 Sep 2015 15:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-09-01/culture-tipping-worldwide-112796 Unions and Garcia push for $15-an-hour minimum wage http://www.wbez.org/news/unions-and-garcia-push-15-hour-minimum-wage-111768 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/chuy15.PNG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Mayoral candidate Jesus &quot;Chuy&quot; Garcia and the Chicago Teachers Union are pushing for a $15 per hour minimum wage.</p><p dir="ltr">Garcia, members of the CTU, and activists with the national movement &ldquo;Fight for 15&rdquo; rallied outside the Chicago Board of Education Wednesday. They want all companies who do business with Chicago Public Schools to agree to a wage increase.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Parents who cannot get regular hours at their job, who cannot make a living wage, have a difficult time providing their children, who are our students, with the kind of environment necessary for real learning,&rdquo; said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey.</p><p dir="ltr">All CTU-represented employees and most others at CPS are already above the minimum wage, but Sharkey said subcontracted employees, like Safe Passage workers and recess monitors, are not.</p><p dir="ltr">Mayor Rahm Emanuel has already <a href="http://www.wbez.org/mayor-emanuel-backs-chicago-minimum-wage-hike-13-110462">promised to increase the minimum wage</a> to $13 an hour by 2018. The wage hike applies to all companies who do business with the city and its sister agencies, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-chief-backs-mayors-13-hour-minimum-wage-111138">including CPS</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Garcia said he&rsquo;d find the money for a wage hike by closing tax loopholes for wealthy corporations and rerouting money given to &ldquo;cronies of the mayor.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If there&rsquo;s enough money to make them happy, there ought to be enough money to pay for frontline workers within Chicago Public Schools,&rdquo; Garcia said. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">School janitors also rallied outside the Board Wednesday to argue against the layoffs that took place after <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/custodial-contract-causing-problems-start-school-year-110767">CPS outsourced custodial management</a> to Aramark and SodexoMAGIC.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Since Aramark has taken over, I currently have to clean 72,000 square feet of hallway,&rdquo; said Ina Davis, a janitor at University of Chicago - Donoghue Charter School. &nbsp;&ldquo;I have 17 classrooms, 23 bathrooms and I&rsquo;m the only janitor that has to clean this at night. I&rsquo;m just asking for CPS to help us.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Last week, principals asked CPS to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/principals-cps-end-custodial-contract-now-111735">end the contracts</a> with Aramark and SodexoMAGIC, saying the schools were still dirty. District officials say after hiccups early in the year, a recent audit of school cleanliness showed most schools are cleaner.</p><p dir="ltr">Tom Balanoff, president of the Service Employees International United - Local 1, said even though Aramark <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/aramark-cps-change-plan-cut-school-janitors-110870">compromised by not following through</a> with about half of the planned layoffs, the company still made more than 200 janitors part-time, which is a problem.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s just not enough hours in the day for the janitors to do all the work,&rdquo; Balanoff said.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/unions-and-garcia-push-15-hour-minimum-wage-111768 Russia's economic dilemma http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-12-08/russias-economic-dilemma-111200 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP24510104665.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Russia&#39;s oil production strategy and Western sanctions have led to a decline in the value of the Russian ruble. Jan Kalicki, a public policy scholar for the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, joins us to explain the problems the Russian economy is facing.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-russia-s-economic-dilemma/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-russia-s-economic-dilemma.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-russia-s-economic-dilemma" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Russia's economic dilemma" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 11:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-12-08/russias-economic-dilemma-111200 Morning Shift: Impact of raising minimum wage http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2014-12-04/morning-shift-impact-raising-minimum-wage-111189 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/B4A8Lx4IUAAeOG6.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Looking at Chicago&#39;s new minimum wage hike from a number of angles, the happiness level of vegetarians, and music from A Christmas Carol</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-109/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-109.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-109" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Impact of raising minimum wage " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 03 Dec 2014 08:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2014-12-04/morning-shift-impact-raising-minimum-wage-111189 Chicago raises its minimum wage as efforts stall at state level http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-raises-its-minimum-wage-efforts-stall-state-level-111179 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/springfield_0_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago aldermen have voted 44 to 5 to raise the minimum wage to $13 an hour over the next five years. But a very similar debate is bubbling up in Springfield, where legislation could be passed that would undo the work of the Chicago City Council.</p><p>The minimum wage, of course, isn&rsquo;t a new topic. Illinoisans have been bombarded with talk about the minimum wage, from the campaign trail for Illinois governor to the streets of Chicago where some fast food workers have been protesting about their low wages.</p><p>But suddenly last week, there was action from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s office.</p><p>&ldquo;Last week, there were rising forces that were talking about not allowing the city to move,&rdquo; he said Tuesday.</p><p>Those forces he referred to are Springfield lawmakers that Emanuel said were going to pull the rug out from under the City Council - locking them out of making any decisions on the city&rsquo;s minimum wage.</p><p>So the day after Thanksgiving, Emanuel announced aldermen would come together for a special meeting Tuesday to vote on his plan to boost the city&rsquo;s minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2019. After that, wages would be linked to inflation. Forty-four alderman supported that plan.</p><p>&ldquo;Dixon, Illinois, and Chicago, Illinois, are different economies,&rdquo; Alderman John Arena (45) said. &ldquo;So it is right that we are able to manage our affairs on this matter. That we are able to pay workers in Chicago who have higher housing costs, higher heating costs, higher costs of transportation, to have a higher wage to go along with that.&rdquo;</p><p>But five other aldermen say they&rsquo;re worried about the cost to local business owners. Tom Tunney is both the 44th ward Alderman and owner of Ann Sather restaurants and catering, and according to him, it&rsquo;s already tough enough for businesses.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s so much pressure on brick and mortar with the internet and how it&rsquo;s driving prices down. You&rsquo;ve seen it in your neighborhoods: the card shop is gone. The handy man shop is gone,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>But Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said the low wage workers can&rsquo;t wait. Especially since Illinois governor-elect Bruce Rauner&rsquo;s plan to boost the minimum wage won&rsquo;t happen overnight.</p><p>&ldquo;They want to do tort reform, tax reform, and a number of other reforms before we get to that - workers compensation. As someone who spent 11 years in Springfield - each and every one of those is a huge undertaking that will not be done quickly. Years will go by,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The first boost kicks in next July - when the Chicago minimum wage will increase from $8.25 to $10 an hour.</p><p>Meanwhile, Illinois state lawmakers are in Springfield for perhaps the final week until the new governor is sworn in next month. A lot of attention has been placed on what the state will do about the minimum wage.</p><p>The debate in Springfield has some wondering what it means for their own business, like Dan Costello. He runs Home Run Inn pizza restaurants in multiple locations around Chicago.</p><p>One location is in Chicago&rsquo;s Beverly neighborhood, which is just a few blocks from the city limits. Costello says Chicago City Council&rsquo;s vote for a higher minimum wage puts him at a disadvantage to his pizza joint neighbors and it&rsquo;ll force him to raise prices.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we have a great product, but at the end of the day, can I charge 10, 12, 15 percent more than the guy down the street? I don&rsquo;t know and that&rsquo;s what scares me,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>Costello says he favors raising the minimum wage, he just wants the whole state to raise the wage, too.</p><p>&ldquo;Then we&rsquo;re all in the same boat,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>On the other side of the city limits is Park Cleaners, a dry cleaners in Evergreen Park. Cindy Custer is behind the counter, greeting customers on a first-name basis.</p><p>&ldquo;So what are you gonna do? You gonna make everybody get jobs in the city because the minimum wage is higher? What&rsquo;s gonna happen to the people that own businesses in other towns and villages, you know?&rdquo; she asked.</p><p>Both Costello and Custer - and even the mayor of Evergreen Park - feel that they&rsquo;re at the mercy of what&rsquo;s decided in Springfield this week. And what lawmakers are up to is still up in the air.</p><p>It could undo what Chicago&rsquo;s City Council passed yesterday, and make one uniform minimum wage rate for the entire state. There&rsquo;s no guarantee that has enough support, even though a referendum on last month&rsquo;s ballot asking voters about a higher minimum wage passed by a wide margin.</p><p>Lawmakers have until Thursday to pass a bill that would set a new minimum wage, and maybe put Chicago&rsquo;s wages at the same level as its bordering suburbs.</p><p><em>Follow Lauren Chooljian <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>. Follow Tony Arnold <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 02 Dec 2014 18:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-raises-its-minimum-wage-efforts-stall-state-level-111179 CPS chief backs the mayor's $13-an-hour minimum wage http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-chief-backs-mayors-13-hour-minimum-wage-111138 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Board of Ed at Westinghouse.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The head of Chicago Public Schools is making a political statement supporting Mayor Rahm Emanuel, ahead of February&rsquo;s municipal elections.</p><p>CPS CEO Barbara Bryd-Bennett told the Board of Education Wednesday that the district wants to move to a $13-per-hour minimum wage. The statement falls in line with <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-emanuel-minimum-wage-hike-push-20140930-story.html" target="_blank">other city agencies</a>, like the Chicago Park District.</p><p>The budget implications of a $13-per-hour minimum wage for CPS workers and contract employees would still need to be worked out internally, CPS officials said.</p><p>Alderman Jason Ervin, of the 28th Ward, urged board members to consider the $15-an-hour wage he and other aldermen are pushing. The meeting was in Ervin&rsquo;s ward, at Westinghouse College Prep, making it the first board meeting held in a community since 2004, when the board met at Orr Academy. It was also the first time in several years the board has met in the evening. Typically, board meetings start at 10 a.m. at CPS&rsquo;s downtown headquarters.</p><p>CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said they moved the meeting into a community and held it in the evening in order to give more people the opportunity to come. The district is also in the process of moving its offices to a new building downtown.</p><p>The meeting, which took place in Westinghouse&rsquo;s auditorium, had a larger crowd than usual and frequent interruptions from audience members. One of the biggest gripes had to do with a recent Chicago Tribune <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/cpsbonds/" target="_blank">investigation into CPS&rsquo;s debt payments</a> on risky interest rate swap deals. Those deals were entered into when now-Board President David Vitale was the district&rsquo;s chief financial officer.</p><p>Tara Stamps, a teacher at Jenner Elementary in Old Town, spoke about a lack of funding for the school&rsquo;s arts program, even though the school is designated as a fine arts school.</p><p>&ldquo;How is it that you can say you want this kind of student, but you don&rsquo;t want to make that kind of investment?&rdquo; Stamps asked. &ldquo;You&rsquo;d rather not renegotiate these toxic deals and squander what could be hundreds of millions of dollars that could go into classrooms that could create well-rounded classrooms where children are appreciated and they learn and they thrive. But you don&rsquo;t. You refuse. You will not arbitrate. You will not renegotiate. You will not do any of the initial steps to get some of that money back.&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Teachers Union first sounded the alarm on the bank deals in 2011, but board members and CPS officials repeatedly dismissed the issue.</p><p>&ldquo;Three years we&rsquo;ve been coming here and being told that our facts are wrong, that we just don&rsquo;t understand, and being dismissed by Mr. Vitale,&rdquo; said Matthew Luskin, a CPS parent and organizer for the CTU. &ldquo;A full week of Trib headlines tell a very different story.&rdquo;</p><p>Luskin said he understands that CPS cannot just cancel the contracts with the banks, but he pushed the board to file for arbitration to renegotiate the contracts, and &ldquo;take a stand.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;They could call these banks out, blame them for the cuts and closings that have happened, instead of blaming retirees and parents and children who take up too many resources,&rdquo; Luskin said. &ldquo;They could announce that CPS won&rsquo;t do business with these banks anymore if they refuse to renegotiate.&rdquo;</p><p>McCaffrey with CPS said the district is monitoring the risks of its swap portfolio closely, &ldquo;including the possibility of termination.&rdquo; But he also said, by the district&rsquo;s calculation, the deals saved more than $30 million in interest costs compared to the costs of fixed-rate bonds.</p><p>The debt payments and the minimum wage weren&rsquo;t the only issues raised at the meeting. Two librarians came to speak about the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/losing-school-librarians-chicago-public-schools-110547" target="_blank">reassignments and layoffs of full-time librarians</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;The loss of school librarians is especially alarming in CPS high schools where there are now only 38 high schools with librarians,&rdquo; said Nora Wiltse, a school librarian at Coonley Elementary.</p><p>A student and a teacher from Kelly High School came to sound the alarm on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/custodial-contract-causing-problems-start-school-year-110767" target="_blank">cleanliness at their school since Aramark</a> took over CPS&rsquo;s janitorial services.</p><p>The Board also approved <a href="http://www.wbez.org/cps-changes-school-ratingsagain-111118" target="_blank">a new school rating policy</a>.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/177839305&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-chief-backs-mayors-13-hour-minimum-wage-111138