Erin Allen: Good morning. I'm Erin Allen and this is The Rundown. Is it Labor Day? Because the union news is going off. Let's start with number one - Illinois voters have passed an amendment how to find the right to collectively bargain in the state's constitution. My colleague Mawa Iqbal has more on that.
Mawa Iqbal: Workers in Illinois will be able to organize and negotiate their wages and working conditions through representatives of their choosing. The amendment also prohibits lawmakers from passing legislation that would interfere with these rights. Joe Bowen with the Vote Yes for Workers Rights campaign says he saw universal support for it.
Joe Bowen: Even when we were at the State Fair in Springfield, at one point I was waiting in line for a lemonade and having a lovely conversation with a gentleman who was wearing a Trump 2024 hat and a vote yes for workers rights button. So this is really an issue that transcends the political divides in this country.
Erin Allen: Illinois joins Hawaii, New York and Missouri as one of the four states to constitutionally protect collective bargaining for all workers.
And number two: fast food workers rallied outside of McDonald's global headquarters in the West Loop yesterday, calling for improved working conditions and higher wages. My other WBEZ colleague Clare Lane spoke to someone who was there.
Clare Lane: When Doneshia Babbitt started working at a St. Louis McDonald's 12 years ago, she earned $9.75 an hour. As a supervisor now she earns $16. But with school payments and living expenses, on top of working conditions she calls terrible, she feels helpless.
Doneshia Babbitt: We have mold growing inside some of our stores, rats, mices, you know different things that we have to deal with. But when you don't have, you know, a good living wage, what are you to do?
Erin Allen: A petition at the rally is calling for more states including Illinois to adopt a law similar to one in California. It gives fast food workers a minimum wage of up to $22 an hour and a variety of health and safety protections.
And number three - Field Museum workers looking to unionize delivered a letter to the head of the museum yesterday asking for voluntary recognition of their union. Museum workers are seeking better job protections pay and clear paths for advancement. If museum CEO Julian Siggers recognizes the union voluntarily it would expedite its path to the bargaining table. If they don't receive his cooperation, workers say they'll file for a Union election with the National Labor Relations Board. Organizers say a majority of the 330 workers who would make up the proposed unit have signed on. There was no immediate comment from the museum. And you should know, the Field Museum is a financial supporter of WBEZ.
In other news, some civil rights attorneys are calling for the criminal prosecution of a former Chicago police detective. This follows the exoneration of yet another man who says he was framed for murder. So far, judges have thrown out more than 30 murder convictions tied to former CPD detective Reynaldo Guevara. Edwin Davila was exonerated in Cook County court on Monday. He'd spent almost 25 years in prison. In court Guevara has repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to comment on allegations that he's framed people.
After years of delays, Illinois' first social equity cannabis dispensaries have been told they can open. Green Rose and Ivy Hall in Chicago are the first two out of nearly 200 licensed winners to get the green light. Green Rose in River North held its grand opening on Saturday and Ivy Hall in Wicker Park opened last week as well, according to Block Club Chicago. More than 60% of Ivy Hall is black owned and the ownership team includes at least one family from Chicago. Green Rose has an ownership team of Black and Latin X veterans and women. The state also announced that nearly $9 million in forgivable loans will be made available to social equity applicants immediately, funded directly by the state instead of through traditional lending institutions. For more on this you can hear a real interesting conversation with my colleague Alex Degman, and the director of the Illinois Independent Craft Growers Association at wbez.org.
And a few quick hits before we get to weather if you've been checking for that new indoor concert space where Morton Salt company used to be, The Salt Shed announced its 2023 lineup yesterday, including The Roots, Flaming Lips, Iggy Pop and an eclectic list of other acts. And the city council's Finance Committee has agreed to give Black owned company Yellow Banana $13.5 million to rehab six save a lot grocery stores. They're all located on the south and west sides of Chicago which have seen five grocery stores closed in the past two years.
In today's weather mid 30s with occasional snow, tonight upper 20s to low 30s, partly cloudy. And that's it for now, come back this afternoon to hear from Alex Degman on legislative veto sessions happening down in Springfield this month. That's coming up at two o'clock on The Rundown. I'm Erin Allen, talk to you then.
WBEZ transcripts are generated by an automatic speech recognition service. We do our best to edit for misspellings and typos, but mistakes do come through.