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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Sabrina Jackson looked forward to a raise last summer at her job as a crossing guard near her children's Englewood school," Melissa Sanchez reports for the Chicago Reporter.

Chicago's minimum wage was slated to increase from $10 to $10.50 per hour under a city ordinance, providing a small but welcome boost to Jackson's paycheck.

But when the new school year rolled around, Jackson discovered, "I didn't get a raise." Chicago Public Schools refused to pay the higher wage for the 1,300 crossing guards, telling nonprofit groups that run the program that the district had budget problems and claiming the workers were exempt. The district never explained why it considered the workers an exception.

The underpayment of Safe Passage workers is just one example of how the city's minimum wage ordinance has fallen short since it took effect in July 2015. A Reporter analysis estimates that thousands of workers have been left behind because of exceptions in the law, which will raise the city's minimum hourly wage to $13 by 2019.

Oh, but it gets worse:

"Meanwhile, the city department responsible for enforcement has investigated just a quarter of 454 wage complaints, recovered lost pay for only a few dozen people and has yet to fine a single company for violating the ordinance."

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Results:

"Following repeated questioning by The Chicago Reporter about the department's lax enforcement, city officials now say they will levy fines. Also following the Reporter's inquiries, CPS reversed course and said it would cover the wage increase, as well as back pay, to its crossing guards."

There's a lot more, go read the whole thing.

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Related, from Curtis Black in the Reporter:

"While Mayor Rahm Emanuel positions himself as a defender of the rights of immigrants, he's refusing to back protections for low-wage workers at the city's two airports, many of whom are immigrants and refugees.

"And while the city spends billions of dollars - including huge contracts for political insiders - to upgrade its airports, which are depicted as 'economic engines' driving local prosperity, thousands of workers who make that engine run are left in poverty and insecurity.

"[Two weeks ago], leaders of the City Council's Black, Latino, and Progressive caucuses introduced an ordinance that would require contractors for ground services at O'Hare and Midway to pay wages and benefits comparable to those offered by building managers in the region. The ordinance would cover about 8,000 custodians, security officers, plane-cleaning crews, baggage handlers and wheelchair assistants."

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P.S.: "As Donald Trump takes office, some union true believers may be tempted to look back with rose-colored glasses on the Obama years. Unfortunately, the real record of his administration shows that Barack Obama was no great friend to labor," Don McIntosh writes for nwLaborPress.

"Obama fought tooth and nail for his NAFTA-style Trans-Pacific trade pact (it failed), but kept his powder dry when it came to raising the federal minimum wage, still at $7.25 after eight years of his presidency."

The whole piece is worth reading.

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Rahm likes to take credit for passing (minimal) minimum wage hikes, and the media largely likes to give him credit for passing (minimal) minimum wage hikes, but the truth is that his minimum wage hikes are so minimal - stretched over five years - as to be laughable.

From March 2015:

By the time minimum wage in Chicago reaches $13 an hour, it will probably be a wage cut.

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I discussed "The Illusory Raise In Chicago's Minimum Wage" on The Beachwood Radio Hour #34: John Kass Can Breathe. (At the 1:14:47 mark; see the Show Notes for links, references, footnotes and commentary.)

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See also the item "Raising Wages Minimally" in this 2014 edition of The [Wednesday] Papers.

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And just to make sure we hit all levels of government . . . from me, October 2014:

For example, Rauner is now running an internet ad stating that "Quinn didn't raise the minimum wage. We have a plan to do it."

For someone who said in a campaign forum that he wanted to cut the state's minimum wage, as well as someone caught on tape saying he was "adamantly, adamantly" against a minimum wage hike, that's a lot of gall.

His subsequent gymnastics on the issue have been deeply dishonest; the notion that he supports a rise in the minimum wage if coupled with other reforms - including tort "reform," a change in the corporate tax structure, and workman's comp "reform" - is a neat trick that has both eluded the media and is intended to make people think he supports a minimum wage, albeit under some conditions that will produce enough extra revenue for employers to cover the additional labor costs.

Those conditions, though, might as well include Jenny McCarthy learning to split the atom and the Cubs winning the World Series.

It's up to you now, Jenny.

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Page Turner

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Page's latest column: "Is it too early to declare outright that our current American president is a serial liar?"

At least he proved his own point - political journalism is in crisis if you're a Pulitzer Prize-winning nationally syndicated columnist asking this question. It's only too early to someone who didn't follow the campaign - and even then, no, not even close to being too early. Or we could keep debating whether it's appropriate to use the word lie.

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My favorite campaign lie is probably this one, though there's so many to choose from (and when you consider pre-campaign Trump, including posing as his own spokesman to plant gossip items in the NY rags, I mean, c'mon!): Trump Camp Knew Pig Blood Story Was False But Told It Anyway.

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Related and particularly germane today, from the Washington Post last June:

"In the weeks between last year's terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., Donald Trump and his closest aides began discussing an idea far outside the bounds of normal political debate: banning all foreign Muslims from entering the United States based solely on their religion."

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Curiously, Trump's campaign statements don't seem to impress the courts. From Tuesday's appellate court hearing:

(Judge) Clifton: Do you deny that in fact the statements attributed to then-candidate Trump and to his political advisers, and most recently Mr. Giuliani, do you deny that those statements were made?

(DOJ lawyer) Flentje: Judge Clifton, no. I would note that [the lower court judge who blocked the executive order] said himself that he wasn't going to look at campaign statements.

Clifton: That's a different point. I understand the argument they shouldn't be given much weight, but when you say we shouldn't be looking at newspaper articles, we're all on the fast track here. Both sides have told us it's moving too fast. Either those kinds of statements were made or they were not. If they were made, but they were made not to be a serious policy principle, then I can understand that. But if they were made, it is potential evidence, it is the basis for an argument. So I just want to know what's on the table.

Clearly those statements were made as a serious policy principle - one of the candidate's two central proposals, along with the wall he intends to make Mexico pay for - and therefore they should be considered; goes to intent, your Honor.

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Also, from the Los Angeles Times:

Purcell encountered some skepticism from one member of the panel, Judge Richard R. Clifton, who noted that the seven countries covered by the order make up only a small part of the world's Muslim population. That would suggest that the order wasn't aimed at Muslims, in general, but at residents of countries that have a serious problem with terrorism, Clifton said.

"We do not need to prove" that the order "harms every Muslim," Purcell responded, just that it was intended to discriminate based on religion.

Indeed. Purcell also argued that the law states that courts can find unlawful discrimination in an action even if the action would have been justified for other reasons - such as national security. In other words, if you take a certain action based on discrimination, it's unconstitutional, but in some cases the same action taken for other reasons can be justified.

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But I digress; we're all on the fast track. Yes, journalism is in crisis. But journalists also are seemingly finding their footing (just like a newly engaged citizenry). Let's hope the lessons the profession is finally learning and applying to Trump spread to all levels and subjects of coverage, namely, calling out lies for what they are, no longer giving flacks a pass, and showing the receipts.

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Countries Recruiting Immigrants Not Welcome Here
The U.S. is losing a competition it doesn't seem to know it's in.

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BeachBook

And Then The Breitbart Lynch Mob Came For Me.

See also this thread: "The weirdest experience for me during my first week working at BuzzFeed was Breitbart writing a hit piece on me."

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The Campaign To Make Indecent Animals Wear Clothes.

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Dog Flu Outbreak Halts Adoptions At Chicago Shelter.

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The Little Caesars At North And Kimball Consistently Undercooks Their Pizza.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Survival tips.



Permalink

Posted on February 8, 2017


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Trump's Disastrous FCC Chair.
POLITICS - Filing: Walmart CEO Made $22.4 Million Last Year.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Pace Pantsed.

BOOKS - America, We Need To Talk.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Bus Stop.


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