The Chicago Transit Board awarded a contract this week to CSR Sifang America JV to build the newest generation of Chicago Transit Authority rail cars as part of the city's modernization program. CSR has pledged to build a new rail car assembly facility in Chicago, the first new assembly of its kind in 35 years. The investment of $40 million is expected to generate 170 jobs, while also reducing maintenance costs and reducing power use through the use of more efficient technology.
In our regular weekly feature, we’ll be taking a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the persons or organizations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.
In the wake of federal and state inaction, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) recently proposed raising the minimum wage within the city limits to $13 per hour. A key City Council committee advanced the measure on a 16–3 vote Monday and the broader council passed it 44–5 Tuesday. The current wage of $8.25 will move to $10 early next year and will rise in increments until it reaches the full $13 in 2019.
Members of National Nurses United (NNU) have had a busy week fighting to improve patient safety both inside and outside hospitals. First up is a new campaign to call upon hospitals coast to coast to reject replacing registered nurses with technology that lowers the quality of patient care and oppose efforts to cut costs at the expense of patient care. Working on the theme “when it matters most, insist on a registered nurse,” the campaign includes radio ads, videos like the one above, social media, in-person rallies and a legislative push.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has targeted Chicago teachers again. This time with an announcement last week that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will layoff more than 3,000 teachers and school staff. This comes on the heels of the city’s closing of nearly 50 schools and layoffs of some 850 educators. Along with the layoffs, steep budget cuts are in the works.
After the Chicago Board of Education approved a proposal from Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) to close 50 of the city's public schools, the Chicago Teachers Union vowed to take legal action to stop the closures and to challenge supporters of the mayor's plan with grassroots mobilization. The closures come despite widespread opposition to the plan and five days of rallies, sit-ins and other efforts.
While newspaper editorial boards, right-wing pundits and school privateers are criticizing Chicago’s 29,000 public school teachers and educational professionals who were forced out on strike, Chicagoans—especially parents—are backing the teachers.
Over the weekend, Chicago police tore down a first aid station at Occupy Chicago, and nurses were among the 130 protesters arrested in a massive sweep against those taking a stance against Wall Street greed.
About 1,500 people gathered Saturday in Grant Park hoping to make it the movement’s permanent home, according to The Washington Post.