WBEZ | labor http://www.wbez.org/tags/labor Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Global Activism: update from La Isla Foundation http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-update-la-isla-foundation-112256 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Tom Laffay La Isla Foundation.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>La Isla Foundation was formed in 2008 after independent filmmaker Jason Glaser met Juan Salgado, a community organizer from Candelaria, Nicaragua. Jason was in Nicaragua making a film about banana workers when Juan informed him of an epidemic of kidney disease occurring in Candelaria and &nbsp;La Isla (&quot;The Island&quot;), neighboring villages in the municipality of Chichigalpa in western Nicaragua. The disease was ravaging agricultural laborers working on a local sugar-cane plantation. Juan, a former worker on the plantation who was fired when he showed the first signs of kidney disease, introduced Jason to the people of La Isla and Candelaria. Over the following months, Jason watched as, one by one, friends he had made died from kidney failure. He put his film aside and started La Isla Foundation. Jason Glaser joins us to give us an update on the work he&rsquo;s been doing in Nicaragua.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/211971999&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, 25 Jun 2015 15:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-update-la-isla-foundation-112256 Afternoon Shift: Looking back at Governor Rauner’s first 100 days in office http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-04-21/afternoon-shift-looking-back-governor-rauner%E2%80%99s-first-100-days <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/Flickr%20182nd%20Airlift%20Wing.jpg" style="height: 388px; width: 620px;" title="(Flickr/182nd Airlift Wing)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928189&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><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">&quot;Right to work&quot; and balancing the budget define Governor Rauner&#39;s first 100 days in office</span></font></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 dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">April 21 marks the 100th day since Governor Bruce Rauner took office in Illinois. It&rsquo;s a milestone traditionally used to take stock of how things have gone so far. Two issues that have dominated these first few months are the state of Illinois&rsquo;s finances and the governor&rsquo;s fight to challenge unions. Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31; Greg Baise, president and CEO at the Illinois Manufacturers&rsquo; Association; and Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation join us to discuss the early goings of the Rauner administration.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddec-97ec-17e6-17cfa7db8537">Guest:</span></strong></p><ul dir="ltr"><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddec-97ec-17e6-17cfa7db8537"><a href="https://twitter.com/alindall">Anders Lindall</a></span> is spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31.</em></li><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddec-97ec-17e6-17cfa7db8537">Greg Baise is president and CEO at the </span><a href="http://www.ima-net.org/">Illinois Manufacturers&rsquo; Association</a>.</em></li><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddec-97ec-17e6-17cfa7db8537"><a href="http://www.civicfed.org/civic-federation/staff/laurence-msall">Laurence Msall</a></span> is president of the Civic Federation.</em></li></ul></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201927861&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><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Chicago sports teams showing strong potential</span></font></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 dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">In the NBA Playoffs, the Bulls are up two games against the Milwaukee Bucks. The &#39;Hawks are up two games to one against Nashville. And both the White Sox and the Cubs have called up exciting prospects from the minors. Joining us to talk Chicago sports is WBEZ&#39;s Cheryl Raye-Stout.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddee-fd1e-a114-e5adaf2aa6b2">Guest:&nbsp;</span></strong><a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout?lang=en"><em>Cheryl Raye-Stout</em></a><em> is WBEZ&rsquo;s sports contributor.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928010&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><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Shortage of homes in housing inventory makes for a seller&#39;s market</span></font></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 dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf0-be74-0b79-0e8d58d1be89">According to a </span><em>Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business</em> report, there are fewer single family homes on the market in Chicago since the beginning of the housing market crash over eight years ago. So why is the housing inventory so short and what does it mean for potential buyers? Dennis Rodkin of <em>Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business</em> joins us with answers.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf0-be74-0b79-0e8d58d1be89">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/Dennis_Rodkin?lang=en">Dennis Rodkin</a> is a Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business reporter.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928362&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><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Court proceedings continue against Bolingbrook man accused of trying to join ISIS</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 dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf0-be74-0b79-0e8d58d1be89">A&nbsp;</span>19-year-old man accused of trying to join the so-called Islamic State was back in court on Tuesday. The charges against Hamzah Khan of Bolingbrook include attempting to provide material support to the terrorist group. WBEZ&rsquo;s Lynette Kalsnes was at the federal courthouse and joins us with details.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf2-465b-fa10-a9d4fe35e3d8">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes">Lynette Kalsnes</a> is a WBEZ reporter.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201927443&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><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Tech Shift: Tracking venture capital investment in Chicago</span></font></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 dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">The amount of venture capital investment in Chicago startups is on the rise. Or maybe not. Depending on how you crunch the data, the first quarter of this year was either lackluster or spectacular. Regardless of how the numbers break down, hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital are flowing to companies in our city every year. So, where&rsquo;s all that money going? And what effect is it having? Jason Heltzer is a Chicago-based VC who&rsquo;s a partner at Origin Ventures. He also teaches at the University of Chicago&rsquo;s Booth School of Business. He joins us with a venture capitalist&rsquo;s perspective on the local VC economy.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf4-727e-13e9-6cb5d7394038">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="http://www.twitter.com/jheltzer">Jason Heltzer</a> is a partner at Origin Ventures and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201876190&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><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">After detective&#39;s aquittal in fatal shooting, prosecutors face criticism</span></font></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 dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Chicago police detective Dante Servin has been cleared of all charges after fatally shooting 22-year old Rekia Boyd. Servin says justice was served, but others say the detective deserved to go to prison. They&rsquo;re slamming both the acquittal and the way the case was prosecuted. WBEZ West Side bureau reporter Chip Mitchell has more.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf6-ec5d-ae8b-10f07f1725ab">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1?lang=en">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928514&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><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Chicago Department of Health urges parents to vaccinate</span></font></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 dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">In honor of National Infant Immunization week, the Chicago Department of Public Health is encouraging parents to vaccinate their babies. While recently we&rsquo;ve seen the emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccination rates haven&rsquo;t dipped, and some are at an all-time high. The Dept. of Public Health&rsquo;s Julie Morita joins us with details.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf8-c8ca-dda9-642cca4fe34c">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdph/auto_generated/cdph_leadership.html">Julie Morita</a> is Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928710&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><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Scandal continues for the College of DuPage</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 dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddfa-04de-a981-fb33a1108b00">In the latest of a series of scandals for the College of DuPage, the </span><em>Chicago Tribune</em> reports that trustees and administrators have been paying for alcohol at the school&rsquo;s upscale restaurant with money that&rsquo;s supposed to be used for student scholarships. Student Body President, Stephanie Torres, joins us to talk about how this is affecting the morale of COD students.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddfa-04de-a981-fb33a1108b00">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="http://www.cod.edu/news-events/news/15_march/15_torres_iccb.aspx">Stephanie Torres</a> is student body president at the College of DuPage.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928208&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><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">State Senator weighs in on reports of Puerto Rican citizens receiving addiction treatment in Chicago</span></font></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 dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddfa-04de-a981-fb33a1108b00">I</span><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddfb-6ac2-fcaa-426670b157b5">n collaboration with our colleagues at </span><em>This American Life</em>, we aired a special report last week about Puerto Rican citizens receiving addiction treatment in Chicago. The story was brought to light by reporter, Adriana Cardona Maguigad, editor of <em>The Gate</em> newspaper newspaper in Chicago&rsquo;s Back of the Yards neighborhood. Illinois State Senator William Delgado&rsquo;s district includes areas where some of these facilities are located. He joins us to talk about what&rsquo;s going on and what he thinks should be done.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddfb-6ac2-fcaa-426670b157b5">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="http://www.senatordelgado.com/biography">William Delgado</a> is an Illinois state senator who represents neighborhoods including Belmont Cragin, Logan Square and Hermosa.</em></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 16:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-04-21/afternoon-shift-looking-back-governor-rauner%E2%80%99s-first-100-days Morning Shift: New income tax issues for 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-20/morning-shift-new-income-tax-issues-2015-111418 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/6984657584_561f45afca.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We discuss the effect of the income tax rollback in Illinois. We find out how the Affordable Care Act may affect your 2014 return. And, author Tom Geoghegan sees a connection between the decline in union power and the rise in income inequality.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-1-20-2015/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-1-20-2015.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-1-20-2015" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: New income tax issues for 2015" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 07:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-20/morning-shift-new-income-tax-issues-2015-111418 Chicago moves on taxi reforms to leave more money in cabbies' pockets http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-moves-taxi-reforms-leave-more-money-cabbies-pockets-110877 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cabs.png" alt="" /><p><p>The city of Chicago is moving on a set of reforms to help cabbies take home more money, a partial salve after a months-long fight over legalizing competing rideshare services left many taxi drivers feeling bruised. While many hail the step as a sign that city officials are finally working to redress cab drivers&rsquo; complaints, some say the changes don&rsquo;t go far enough.</p><p>&ldquo;What we wanted to do is improve overall their experience here in the city, and make it more lucrative for them as cab drivers,&rdquo; said Maria Guerra Lapacek, Commissioner of Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.</p><p>Guerra Lapacek said her department crafted the proposals after working with representatives from Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Local 31 and other driver advocacy groups. Some of them will be included in an ordinance to be introduced at City Council&rsquo;s meeting next week. Others will be implemented through rule changes by the BACP.</p><p>The most significant change would reduce how much taxi owners may charge to lease their fuel-efficient cabs after the vehicles&rsquo; first year on the road.</p><p>&ldquo;The garages are able to recoup their investment after a year of having these vehicles in circulation,&rdquo; explained Guerra Lapacek, &ldquo;so the idea was to reduce the lease rate cap for the second year, and that way give relief back to the cab driver.&rdquo;</p><p>Guerra Lapacek said this idea resulted from the surprising finding in a recent <a href="http://www.wbez.org/study-chicago-cabbies-earn-average-12hour-110726">city-commissioned study</a>, which found that cab drivers spend about 40 percent of their gross income on their vehicle leases. Ultimately, the reform could affect leases for an estimated 3,700 of the city&rsquo;s nearly 7,000 cabs.</p><p>Leases would also be reduced for drivers whose vehicles generate a separate revenue stream from advertising displays. The reforms would require cab companies to credit leases in these cases.</p><p>&ldquo;There are over 2000 owner-operators in the City of Chicago. They don&rsquo;t pay a lease,&rdquo; said Peter Enger, a cab driver and Secretary of the United Taxidrivers Community Council. &ldquo;This will not help them in the slightest.&rdquo;</p><p>Enger said he&rsquo;s delighted that city officials appear to be considering the difficulties cab drivers have faced since a previous set of reforms took effect in 2012. Those reforms raised the lease rates for cabs, without a commensurate increase in taxi fare rates. Many cab drivers say that has resulted in longer working hours to earn the same income.</p><p>Cab drivers who own and drive their own taxis affirm Enger&rsquo;s fear that a new round of reform will still leave them in the dust.</p><p>&ldquo;The only way is to get a fare increase that we did not get for almost ten years, to offset the cost of living and all of that stuff,&rdquo; said Ahmed Ammar, who owns and drives his own taxi. &ldquo;Everything went up.&rdquo;</p><p>While some cab drivers, particularly those aligned with UTCC&rsquo;s union, push for a taxi fare increase, others worry it could adversely affect demand. Representatives from another union, Cab Drivers United, say raising fares is lower on their priority list.</p><p>&ldquo;Our focus first and foremost has been moving forward on these changes that will both put money in drivers&rsquo; pockets, and keep the cab companies competitive with the (rideshare) companies,&rdquo; said Tracy Abman, an organizer with AFSCME Local 31.</p><p>Guerra Lapacek said her department will not consider a fare increase at this juncture because she worries it could turn customers away from the taxi industry. Rideshare companies&rsquo; prices routinely undercut taxi fares.</p><p>The proposals also include city-backed smartphone applications to allow passengers to electronically hail taxis, as they do with popular services such as Uber and Hailo.</p><p>&ldquo;We think this is an excellent reform that&rsquo;s going to bring the cab industry into more innovation and really help them access those customers,&rdquo; said Guerra Lapacek. She said the city will put out a request for proposals, and will require all taxis to be on at least one of the city-backed apps.</p><p>Additionally, the reforms would reduce the fee that taxi drivers pay on credit card transactions, from 5 percent to 3 percent; lower the maximum penalties for taxi offenses from $1,000 to $400; and <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/bacp/publicvehicleinfo/publicchauffer/chauffeurtrainingtaskforcefinalrecommendations.pdf">streamline</a>&nbsp;the required driver training process.</p><p>The city will also create a task force to review <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/how-often-are-cabs-pulled-over-and-what-109734">the enforcement process of taxi rules</a> at the Administrative Hearings Court, which many taxi drivers disparagingly refer to as a &ldquo;kangaroo court.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s significant that the City is listening to drivers that are organized, listen to them, hearing their concerns, addressing some of their concerns and agreeing to continue to work together with drivers to make their lives better and make sure the industry remains viable,&rdquo; said Abman.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef"><em>@oyousef</em></a><em> and </em><a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud"><em>@WBEZoutloud</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-moves-taxi-reforms-leave-more-money-cabbies-pockets-110877 Silva gains momentum in Brazil Presidential race http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-09-29/silva-gains-momentum-brazil-presidential-race-110866 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP362424585789.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Brazilians head to the polls on Oct. 5 for the first round of presidential elections. Incumbent President Dilma Rousseff and candidate Marina Silva, are in a close race. Marcelo Jarmendia, founder and director of Brazil in Chicago, explains Silva&#39;s momentum.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-silva-gains-momentum-in-brazil-president/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-silva-gains-momentum-in-brazil-president.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-silva-gains-momentum-in-brazil-president" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Silva gains momentum in Brazil Presidential race" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-09-29/silva-gains-momentum-brazil-presidential-race-110866 Study: Chicago cabbies earn average of $12/hour http://www.wbez.org/study-chicago-cabbies-earn-average-12hour-110726 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cabs_140829_oy_lo res.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/mayor/Press%20Room/Press%20Releases/2014/August/Chicago_Taxi_Fares_Study_Final_Aug2014.pdf">city-commissioned study</a> on cabbie incomes has found Chicago&rsquo;s taxi drivers, on average, earn more than $12 an hour. The report stands in sharp contrast to the argument by many cab drivers that they take home less than the state&rsquo;s $8.25 hourly minimum wage.</p><p dir="ltr">The study, conducted by outside consulting firm Nelson-Nygaard, is more than a year in the making, and is the first truly comprehensive, scientific analysis of how much cabbies make in Chicago.</p><p>The study combines data collected from taxi credit card machines with cabbie feedback on a survey, to calculate revenues and costs in the profession. Ultimately, it looked at more than 10.6 million trips by cabs that were equipped with Creative Mobile Technologies taximeters over an eight month period, starting January 2013. A more limited analysis was also done on Verifone credit card machines, which confirmed that earnings calculations between the two technologies were similar.</p><p>&ldquo;We wanted a thorough, complete study,&rdquo; said Maria Guerra Lapacek, Commissioner of Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. &ldquo;A scientific look at what was the reality.&rdquo;</p><p>Lapacek said the report validates some of the controversial industry reforms enacted by the city in 2012. &ldquo;With the study we did learn that about 43 percent of the drivers are making more than $13 an hour,&rdquo; she noted.</p><p>The study found that if cabbies work 50 weeks in a year, full-time drivers who hustle 51 hours each week net an average $111 per day, or $31,397 per year. Extended-time drivers who work 75 hours each week netted $120 a day, or $46,614 per year. Part-time cabbies, who would still have to drive close to a full work week -- at 31 hours a week -- would only net $57 a day, or $15,374 per year.</p><p>The averages mask a broad variation in incomes. At the low end of the scale, the study reveals that 20 percent of drivers net less than $30 a day, while at the other end the most productive drivers may be earning upward of $187 in a day.</p><p>Additionally, the study found that one-sixth of Chicago taxi drivers are, in fact, not breaking even each day. &ldquo;It is somewhat puzzling that drivers continue driving a taxi if they are losing money or making nearly nothing,&rdquo; the report states.</p><p>&ldquo;Because of the city&rsquo;s low fare, one-sixth of the workforce actually loses money in their chosen profession? That&rsquo;s a huge problem for the city,&rdquo; said Michael Persoon, an attorney with law firm Despres, Schwartz and Geoghegan. Persoon is helping to represent Chicago cab driver Melissa Callahan in her <a href="http://www.wbez.org/cabbie%E2%80%99s-lawsuit-against-chicago-moves-forward-104355">federal lawsuit</a> against the city, which claims that she should be considered an employee of the city, and thus entitled to the minimum wage.</p><p>In a separate, more limited study that Callahan&rsquo;s lawyers commissioned, University of Illinois Professor Robert Bruno used data from 689 taxi drivers&rsquo; Verifone credit card machines to calculate driver incomes. In contrast to the Nelson-Nygaard study, Bruno found that the drivers netted, on average, $8.11 an hour &mdash; less than Illinois&rsquo;s minimum wage. This has been a critical part of her team&rsquo;s argument that Chicago should raise taxi fare rates, which have remained unchanged since 2005.</p><p>Persoon says the new study does not undermine Callahan&rsquo;s case.</p><p>&ldquo;What it shows is that there are people who aren&rsquo;t earning the minimum wage,&rdquo; he said. The report shows between 30 and 40 percent of drivers are netting less than $8.25 an hour.</p><p>The Nelson-Nygaard study also found that by far, the biggest cost for drivers are their vehicle leases &mdash; accounting for nearly 40 percent, on average, of gross income. The lease burden increased dramatically for drivers under the 2012 reforms, when the City allowed cab companies to increase the maximum amount they could charge drivers for the use of their vehicles.</p><p>&ldquo;Certainly the lease rates are something we&rsquo;re looking at,&rdquo; said Guerra Lapacek, who added that her office plans to announce several changes in the coming weeks to taxi regulations. &ldquo;We are and have been working on reforms that are going to help with the taxi driver profit.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Cab drivers, of late, have become increasingly vocal about changes they&rsquo;d like to see. Despite several attempts over the years to organize, only recently have a significant number of cabbies begun to come together under the umbrella of AFSCME Local 31. The labor group has pushed City Hall to revisit policies pertaining to maximum fines for taxi violations, lease rates, and credit card processing fees, among other issues.</p><p>Guerra Lapacek would not say at this time whether she will consider recommending higher fares.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 23:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/study-chicago-cabbies-earn-average-12hour-110726 Emanuel pension deal would raise property taxes, trim benefits http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-pension-deal-would-raise-property-taxes-trim-benefits-109948 <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/142758537&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s plan for fixing part of the nation&#39;s worst municipal pension crisis is now in the hands of state lawmakers &mdash; and it&#39;s likely just the first of many from cities across the state seeking legislative help for their employee retirement funds.</p><p>The Democratic mayor&#39;s proposal comes just months after the General Assembly finally tackled a plan &mdash; challenged in court &mdash; to deal with its own $100 billion pension problem. But Emanuel hasn&#39;t yet addressed shortfalls in the city&#39;s fire and police pension programs, a problem that nearly every large city in Illinois faces.</p><p>Chicago has the worst-funded public pension system of any major U.S. city, a distinction that could threaten its attempts to position itself as a modern transportation hub and a place for high-tech development.</p><p>Emanuel announced he had reached a deal with several municipal and laborers unions to cut in half a $19.5 billion pension debt over 40 years in accounts that cover more than 50,000 employees and retirees. The agreement would raise property taxes by $50 million a year over the next five years, ultimately bringing in $750 million over that time. It would also require higher contributions from employees and reduce the annual benefits retirees receive.</p><p>Less than a year from facing the voters for re-election, Emanuel&#39;s plan is politically risky.</p><p>&quot;Voters did not elect me to think about my political future,&quot; Emanuel said in a statement Tuesday. &quot;They elected me to think about Chicago&#39;s future.&quot;</p><p>He suggested the effort with the unions could be a template for solving $10 billion in police and fire shortfalls, but didn&#39;t suggest specifics, including how the city can meet a required $600 million balloon payment to police and fire funds next year.</p><p>And despite Emanuel&#39;s claim of widespread union support, a coalition of labor groups representing firefighters, police officers, teachers, nurses and other city workers called We Are One Chicago all but promised a lawsuit if lawmakers OK the plan. A similar group has filed a lawsuit over the state plan.</p><p>In Springfield, Republicans were noncommittal, saying they wanted to see the details and who would have to pay for the plan before they signed on. Democrats, who control supermajorities in both legislative chambers, already begun drafting language for the necessary bills in the House.</p><p>Other cities wrestling with their own pension shortfalls are watching.</p><p>&quot;Chicago drives things throughout the state and it also gets the majority of funding from Springfield and Washington, D.C.,&quot; Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said. &quot;A healthy Chicago means more scraps for the Peorias, Rockfords, Danvilles of the state.&quot;</p><p>Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat and House leader on pension issues, predicted lawmakers would deal with the current Emanuel plan by itself, but that when it comes to police and fire funds, Chicago and the state&#39;s other large cities will be coming to Springfield for help.</p><p>Aurora, the state&#39;s second-largest city, is among municipalities struggling with police and fire obligations, including state financial penalties to take effect in 2016 for cities that do not make sufficient contributions to those pension accounts. That amounts to an increase of more than $1 million annually for Aurora, which has reduced its operating expenses and laid off employees in recent years, Mayor Tom Weisner said.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s not sustainable. Without some reform, there&#39;s going to be cities that basically, I believe, will be going under,&quot; Weisner said. &quot;I&#39;d be hard-pressed to find a community whose leaders are not in favor of pension reform for public safety employees.&quot;</p><p>According to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, a legislative budget analyst, police and fire pension funds in cities outside Chicago have deteriorated significantly in the past two decades. Police funds, for example, were 75 percent funded in 1991, while they were only 54 percent funded &mdash; $4.4 billion short &mdash; in 2010.</p><p>The commission points out that assets in that time have tripled, but liabilities have increased even more. Springfield Mayor Michael Houston said police and fire funds were hit hard by the financial downturn of 2008 and, over the years, legislatively approved enhancements to pension benefits that did not come with money to pay for them.</p><p>&quot;While we can lobby for changes, it&#39;s up to the state Legislature to make changes,&quot; Houston said.</p><p>If the state approves Emanuel&#39;s plan, &quot;it has the potential to create a path for the mayor to address his police and fire pension fund, which will also need to be addressed by downstate police and fire funds,&quot; said Laurence Msall, president of the Chicago-based Civic Federation.</p><p>But he cautioned that the two systems are different. Chicago is unique for having a separate fund for municipal employees and laborers. In other cities, those jobs are covered by the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, which is generally in good shape in cities across the state because of stricter contribution requirements and less-generous benefits.</p></p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 08:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-pension-deal-would-raise-property-taxes-trim-benefits-109948 Economist: College football like NFL but for pay http://www.wbez.org/news/economist-college-football-nfl-pay-109737 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP565441140271.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Major colleges run their football teams just like those in the NFL, relying on players to generate millions of dollars in revenue, an economist testified Wednesday before a federal agency that will decide whether Northwestern football players may form the first union for college athletes in U.S. history.</p><p>&quot;The difference would be ... the NFL pays their players,&quot; Southern Utah University sports economist David Berri told the National Labor Relations Board on the second day of a hearing in Chicago that could stretch into Friday. That colleges don&#39;t pay their football players, he said, likely boosts their programs&#39; profitability further.</p><p>The NLRB is considering whether Wildcats&#39; football players can be categorized under U.S. law as employees, which would give them rights to unionize. The university, the Big Ten Conference and NCAA have all maintained college players are student-athletes, not employees.</p><p>Attorneys for Northwestern began presenting their case opposing unionization, endeavoring to show that the newly formed College Athletes Players Association would provide little tangible benefit to the Northwestern players.</p><p>Asked whether one of CAPA&#39;s stated goals &mdash; to improve football-player graduation rates &mdash; made any sense for Northwestern, the university&#39;s associate athletic director, Brian Baptiste, noted the school&#39;s rate was already No. 1 in the nation &mdash; at 97 percent.</p><p>&quot;I guess you can increase 97 percent,&quot; he said wryly.</p><p>Union supporters say they would be able to force schools to better protect football players from head injuries. Baptiste suggested that only the NCAA, with oversight power across the country, was in position to address that.</p><p>&quot;That has to be done on a national level,&quot; he said. &quot;Northwestern wouldn&#39;t have control over that.&quot;</p><p>Supporters argue a union would provide athletes a vehicle to lobby for greater financial security. They contend scholarships sometimes don&#39;t even cover livings expenses for a full year.</p><p>Baptiste said NCAA rules tie Northwestern&#39;s hands, and they would bar it from assenting to demands from an on-campus football union, including calls to increase the value of scholarships. He said the NCAA caps scholarship amounts.</p><p>Berri, the economist, was called to testify on behalf of the proposed union, which is pushing the unionization bid with support from the United Steelworkers. He sought to illustrate how the relationship between Northwestern and its football players was one of employer to employees.</p><p>Profit numbers attest to the program being a commercial enterprise, he told the hearing,</p><p>Northwestern&#39;s football program reported a total profit of $76 million from 2003 to 2012, with revenues of $235 million and costs of $159 million, Berri testified. The numbers were adjusted for inflation for the private school.</p><p>Berri conceded he didn&#39;t know that maintenance of the Wildcats&#39; stadium was not included in the expense numbers. And he said he also did not know if football profits made up for losses in other, less popular school sports.</p><p>Schools with revenue-generating football teams were in the business of entertainment, Berri said. Asked who provided those services, he responded, &quot;Players are the ones you are watching.&quot;</p><p>Northwestern attorney Alex Barbour pressed Berri about whether he was trying to say the school exploits its football players.</p><p>&quot;There is an economic definition of the word &#39;exploitation,&#39;&quot; he responded. &quot;A worker is exploited ... if their economic value is greater than their wages. ... By that definition, they are exploited.&quot;</p><p>Whether the economist should have been allowed to testify was a point of contention, with Barbour complaining that Berri&#39;s analysis was irrelevant to the central question: Are college football players are employees?</p><p>But after allow the side to debate the issue, the hearing officer overseeing the case, Joyce Hofstra, agreed to let Berri speak, saying the hearing was &quot;novel&quot; and she would err on the side of admitting evidence.</p><p>Barbour had said during his opening statement that allowing a college athletes&#39; union to collectively bargain would be &quot;a Rube Goldberg contraption that would not work in the real world&quot; and would fundamentally change college sports.</p><p>Berri, though, pointed to the NFL and its embrace of a union, saying unionization in its case &quot;did not cause the professional sport to collapse.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 16:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/economist-college-football-nfl-pay-109737 UIC faculty claim higher cause http://www.wbez.org/news/uic-faculty-claim-higher-cause-109732 <p><p>As University of Illinois at Chicago faculty members went on strike this week for the first time in school history, English Professor Walter Benn Michaels took a break from picketing to give a reporter a lesson about the academic pecking order.</p><p>Looking up at the school&rsquo;s tallest building &mdash; the 28-story University Hall &mdash; Michaels pointed out that the top floors are for UIC&rsquo;s senior administration. &ldquo;You got people up there making a lot of money,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />The building&rsquo;s other floors are for various academic departments, including English, headed by Michaels, whose office is on the 20th. Among the tenured and tenure-track faculty, he said, &ldquo;there are some people like me who are well-paid.&rdquo;<br /><br />But go down one floor to the 19th and &ldquo;you have the exact opposite,&rdquo; Michaels said. &ldquo;You have the non-tenure-track English professors who are making mainly $30,000 a year. A few lucky ones &mdash; some of them have been here 15-20 years &mdash; are making $35,000.&rdquo;<br /><br />Most of these employees, Michaels pointed out, have doctoral degrees and teach full-time for UIC.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MichaelsSCALED.jpg" style="height: 417px; width: 300px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Walter Benn Michaels, a professor who heads the University of Illinois at Chicago’s English Department, works on the 20th floor of University Hall. He says he’s backing the strike to stand up for students and his department’s lowest-paid instructors, who work on the 19th floor. WBEZ/Chip Mitchell" /></div><p>Eighteen months since the Illinois Federation of Teachers won certification to represent 1,100 of the school&rsquo;s faculty members, they are still trying to get their first collective-bargaining agreement.</p><p>Their dispute has become a flashpoint in a nationwide battle over the fate of higher education. On many campuses, that battle pits socially driven professors against market-oriented administrators and trustees or, as Michaels describes them, &ldquo;neoliberal&rdquo; forces.<br /><br />The main unresolved UIC bargaining issues concern faculty compensation. The school&rsquo;s administrators say they cannot give the union all it wants. Over four years, according to UIC, the faculty&rsquo;s demands would hike costs by 23 percent for tenure-system faculty and 27 percent for the rest.<br /><br />But faculty members say the two-day work stoppage, which ends Wednesday, is about more than their pocketbooks. They say it is about their students.</p><p>&ldquo;We would like, for example, to have all the English majors to do senior theses,&rdquo; Michaels told me. &ldquo;But, when you have a tenure-track department faculty of 33 people, you can&rsquo;t be having hundreds of English majors doing senior theses.&rdquo;</p><p>The only way to properly advise all these students, Michaels said, would be to deploy the department&rsquo;s non-tenure-track faculty &mdash; the folks who get $30,000 or $35,000 a year.<br /><br />&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t turn to these people and say, &lsquo;I want to add some additional work, which is hard work and which requires a lot of personal hours with students,&rsquo; &rdquo; Michaels said. &ldquo;How can I ask them to do that when I can offer them nothing? I can&rsquo;t offer them a promotion. I can&rsquo;t offer them a better wage.&rdquo;<br /><br />Professors in fields ranging from art history to philosophy also claim that it has become harder to get approval for courses that may not attract hoards of students.<br /><br />When it comes to colleges and universities struggling to do right by their students, UIC is less the exception than the rule, according to Gary Rhoades, director of the University of Arizona&rsquo;s Center for the Study of Higher Education.<br /><br />At many schools, Rhoades said, professors are resisting &ldquo;administrative desires to narrow the range of fields in which education is provided, to concentrate resources on a few areas that [management] thinks are going to pay off &mdash; either in terms of bringing in research moneys [or] cutting off areas that are not seen to be so valuable in the marketplace for the student.&rdquo;<br /><br />The academic areas deemed valuable, Rhoades explained, are those that help students get jobs as soon as they graduate.<br /><br />Michael Poliakoff, vice president of policy at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, suggested that UIC emulate &ldquo;smart&rdquo; universities and colleges that have formed consortia and transitioned to interactive video. He said there may not be any other affordable way to provide low-enrollment programs ranging from classics to foreign languages.<br /><br />Poliakoff also echoed Harvard Business School management guru Clayton Christensen, who says on-the-job training is pushing aside the traditional U.S. higher-education model. &ldquo;Fifteen years from now, half of the colleges and universities in this nation are going to be in bankruptcy,&rdquo; Poliakoff warned.<br /><br />&ldquo;Universities can&rsquo;t be everything to everybody,&rdquo; Poliakoff said. &ldquo;If they try to do that &mdash; especially if you have faculty collective-bargaining agreements attempting to protect programs even when they&rsquo;re not financially viable &mdash; then the school is really headed for financial disaster.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It is the business of an institution to ensure that it is cost-effective,&rdquo; Poliakoff said.<br /><br />The UIC faculty members call their strike an effort to ward off that sort of thinking. They insist they are standing up for their students.<br /><br />&ldquo;When I teach American literature,&rdquo; Michaels said, &ldquo;they&rsquo;re going to learn something about the value of literature &mdash; something that they&rsquo;ll take with them all the way through their lives. That&rsquo;s important to us. That&rsquo;s part of what a university is.&rdquo;<br /><br />When the sides resume bargaining this Friday, they will have to decide whether that value is something the school can still afford.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 07:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/uic-faculty-claim-higher-cause-109732 Thrift store employees attempt to unionize http://www.wbez.org/news/thrift-store-employees-attempt-unionize-109082 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/retail union.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Workers at a thrift store on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side are trying to form a union. Some employees at the Unique thrift store in Chicago earn close to minimum wage and no benefits even though they have worked full time at the store for more than 10 years.</p><p>Unique is run by a for-profit company called Savers based in Bellevue, Washington. The company gets some of their items from charities like the Salvation Army.</p><p>Professor Chris Tilly is with the University of California Los Angeles. He says bigger department stores like Macy&rsquo;s were unionized in the past. Today, retail, much less a thrift store, is more challenging to organize,.</p><p>He says a group in New York called the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) has been successful by taking a community approach.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s partly also about creating an environment where there&rsquo;s pressure coming from workers and community. In that sense, it&rsquo;s very much like the fast food campaign, and the &#39;Our Walmart&#39; campaign,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Workers United, the group representing the Unique employees, says they&#39;re planning on organizing all 12 of the store&rsquo;s Chicago locations.</p><p>Unique management did not return a request for comment.</p><p><em>Susie An covers business for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/soosieon" target="_blank">@soosieon</a></em></p></p> Tue, 05 Nov 2013 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/thrift-store-employees-attempt-unionize-109082