Tuesday, October 18, 2011


From Coalition for Justice and Respect:

On Friday October 14, 2011 the Coalition for Justice and Respect (CJR) and the newly reorganized Coalition for Justice and Respect Foundation (CJRF) held its first Community Recognition Tribute to Warriors of civil rights and social justice diner at the Chicago Theological Seminary. The ceremony was the first of its kind in the African-American community that acknowledged the work of African-American Black Gays Lesbians Same Gender Loving people and allies.

The event recognized and honored the Reverend Willie T. Barrow the mother of the an openly Gay son who was a founding member of the Operation Bread Basket and Operation PUSH and recording artist Keith Barrow could not attend a similarly planned event last year that had to be postponed due to illness, but this year she has roared back and made it to the event as one of two she attended. At age 86 she is still setting the standard for activist.

The awards were presented by CJR’s Board President Susan Watts , Marc Loveless, Executive Director and the wonderful entertainment by Kirk Sanders (Real T Lutha of the Midwest). Entertainment was provided by Nhojj.

The Tribute was one of four events that the CJR organized for October LGBT History month and National Coming Out Day. The other events included a showcase concert held at the Woodsen Regional Library, Community forum with the RainbowPUSH Coalition, and a discussion on Faith that concluded with supporting a play that featured Openly Gay Gospel Singer and HIV prevention speaker Dewayne Woods most noted song Let Go and Let God.

The sponsors of the event were The Chicago Theological Seminary, The University of Chicago Medical Center, and the Committee to Elect Judge Joy V. Cunningham for Illinois Supreme Court.
Food was provided by Honey’s Catering.
The other honorees included:

Jamal M. Edwards, Esq. who is an Attorney and since June of 2010 has taken the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Howard Brown Health Center.
Judge Sophia H. Hall who for over 20 years has been an elected judge in Cook County.

Lakeesha Harris and Janean Watkins our the first couple to Unionized in Cook County under Illinois Civil Unions laws.
Otis Mack (Heavy Diva) for his work in providing safe spaces all over the world where African-American Black Gays, Lesbians and Transperson to express themselves and enrich the world.
Castle Kelley for her work as the Marketing Coordinator for Beta Phi Omega Sorority, Inc. Beta Gamma Chapter and the Black Gay and Lesbian Greek communities.

Cerese Depardieu for her work with MB Bank, Night Ministry and the young adult empowerment of Black LGBT youth in the Lakeview area.
Monica Haslip the Executive Director and Founder of Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center for creating a safe inspiring space that brings together generations to develop their art build self-esteem and ensure community pride.

Joseph Steven McClure for his work As a young promoter that integrates of event promoting and social action in a combined effort.

Rev. Phyllis V. Pennese, M.Div is Founder and Senior Pastor of the Pillar of Love Fellowship United Church of Christ (POLFUCC). Founded in 2003 Pillar of Love is a faith community committed to the radically inclusive justice minded ministry of Jesus Christ.
Michael J. Simmons is the Policy Director for the Mayor of the City of Chicago Rahm Emanuel and is also a former elected official serving on the Local School Council of Brennemann Elementary School.

Lowry S. Taylor the founder and director of Digital Development Corporation a program of second chances. Digital Development Corporation takes donations of used computers refurbishes them and puts them back in use. As well as provide an opportunity for people that have a criminal background to transition back into society with a job and an ability to be functioning contributors to society.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Service workers, policymakers, and faith leaders hold forum on the effects of poverty-wage jobs at Chicago’s airports

Days after Mayor Emanuel’s closed-door meeting with airline executives…

From SEIU Local 1

Chicago—On Thursday, October 6th, airport service workers, along with clergy from ARISE Chicago and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) hosted a forum on the far-reaching effects of low wage jobs at Chicago’s world-class airports.

Passenger service workers at O’Hare and Midway airports—the majority of whom are immigrants and minorities—are paid so little that most are forced to rely on public assistance programs like food stamps and welfare to survive. Many are paid below the legal minimum wage. Low wage jobs like these contribute to increased poverty, crime, and foreclosures. Chicago currently has the 3rd highest poverty rate of any major city; the second highest foreclosure rate; and the highest level of income disparity between white and black workers.

Forum participants included airport service workers, nationally renowned policymakers, and community leaders. Paul Sonn, Co-Director of the National Employment Law Project, opened the forum with a keynote address on the effects of low wage airport jobs on communities and on airport operations. He kicked off a discussion on how policy changes might help to alleviate some of these effects.

“Airports on the West Coast like LAX, SFO and San Jose have for years been guaranteeing living wages for airport workers,” Sonn says. “They've found that it's improved airport security and workers' lives, without harming competition."

Passenger service workers at O’Hare report that they are often paid below minimum wage and bring home as little as $10,000 a year. The contractors that employ these workers often classify them as “tipped” employees; however, many passengers believe this is a free service as required by the Air Carrier Access Act and do not tip.

Elda Pedraza, an employee of Prospect Aviation Services at O’Hare airport, explains: “They pay me $6.50 an hour because, supposedly, ours are tipped jobs; however, we cannot let the passengers know this and many of them are not aware of it. There are days when we do not make any tips.”

Workers report that when their wages plus tips falls below the minimum wage, contractors like Prospect often do not make up the difference as required by law. The University of Illinois is currently conducting a survey of airport service workers to look into this issue. The study will attempt to assess the quality of working conditions and measure employer adherence to state and federal laws governing the workplace.

Aldermen, community leaders: no more multi-billion dollar aiport deals that leave Chicago communities behind

From Unite Here Local 1:

Chicago, IL - Twenty Chicago aldermen, area community leaders, and more than 300 O'Hare and Midway airport concessions workers and allies rallied at City Hall Wednesday morning as aldermen introduced the Stable Jobs, Stable Airports Ordinance to ensure stability for O'Hare and Midway passengers, City revenue, and Chicago communities as Chicago puts airport concession contracts worth $2.5 billion out to bid. Thirty one aldermen have signed on as cosponsors of the ordinance.

"The last thing the City of Chicago needs is another set of unemployed workers," said Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), lead sponsor of the ordinance. "With 84 million passengers passing through our airports in Chicago, with sales that are six times as much per square foot as any other place in the City of Chicago, and with bulk of these concessions controlled by multinational corporations that take profits away from the City of Chicago, we have to stand up and act."

In the coming months more than 1,500 Chicago residents could be thrown out of work at O'Hare and Midway airports as the City cuts multi-billion dollar deals with big multinational companies in the largest turnover of concessions in Chicago's history.

"I need my job. Where will I go? I need to support my family. I've worked here [at O'Hare] for 23 years. What will I do if I lose my job?" saidAida Olavarria, an O'Hare food service worker and resident of Chicago's Humboldt Park community.

While 70% of O'Hare and Midway concessions are controlled by multinational companies based overseas, they have used a loophole to evade Chicago's "living wage" of $11.18 per hour for contractors, pocketing millions of dollars that should go to Chicago workers and communities.

"It troubles me to see so many people struggling to pay for basic things like food or rent, while these big corporations are pocketing millions," said Jerry Ward, a retail worker at Midway Airport.

Around the country 18 other airports - including LAX, JFK, Miami, and Cleveland - have utilized standards to protect workers and communities, ensure smooth operations for travelers, and/or protect airport revenue from disruptions during big contract turnovers.

The Stable Jobs Stable Airports ordinance would close the loophole that has enabled airport contracts to evade Chicago's living wage, ensure job stability for thousands of workers, and protect airport revenue from disruptions as new contractors take over.

Aldermen Ervin, Thompson, O'Shea, Chandler, Maldonado, Pawar, Osterman, Cappleman, Pope, Sposato, Foulkes, Cochran, Moreno, Waguespack, Arena, Moore, Graham, Reboyras, Munoz, and Cullerton joined the press conference or rally to voice their support for the ordinance.

Occupy Chicago: "For as long as it takes to end corporate greed" » peoplesworld

Occupy Chicago: "For as long as it takes to end corporate greed" » peoplesworld