International Workers’ Day

May Day in Chicago
International Workers Day in Chicago May 1

Illinois Labor
History Society
Thursday, April 25, 2013

     CHICAGO — Join the Illinois Labor History Society to continue the tradition and the fight for workers’ rights as it honors the significance of May Day to our labor movement at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 1 at Haymarket Square at Des Plaines Avenue, between Lake Street and Randolph Street, in Chicago.
     Join sponsors Illinois Labor History Society, Chicago Federation of Labor and Chicago Jobs with Justice as they stand in solidarity with workers in the United States and around the world who seek a stronger voice in order to bring fairness, justice and safety to their workplace.
     More than 125 years ago, thousands of workers took to the streets in Chicago on May 1 to demand a basic right that many of us today take for granted: the eight-hour workday. Because of the actions that unfolded over the course of those next few days, May 1 is celebrated around the world as the true “Labor Day.”
     Each year, a commemorative plaque is placed on the Haymarket Memorial by international trade unions. This year, sponsors will mount plaques from the Coalition of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.
     Following the rally, we’ll march to Federal Plaza with our brothers and sisters in support of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that will give a voice to millions of workers in this country along with a roadmap to citizenship.
     May Day is a vital part of our labor history not only in Chicago, but around the world. Join us in marking the significance of May 1 as we continue to fight for the rights of all working people.

Quinn opens roadway to community development

Pat Barcas
Staff writer
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

     PULLMAN PARK — Gov. Pat Quinn was joined Feb. 18 by community and business leaders to reopen a critical roadway to the Pullman Park development on Chicago’s South Side.
     Funded by a $4.6 million investment through the federal “IKE” Disaster Recovery Program, construction of the new road created 300 construction jobs. An additional 400 construction and 1,000 permanent retail jobs are expected when the Pullman Park development is completed.
     “Today is a great day for everyone who lives and works in Pullman Park,” Quinn said. “Infrastructure improvements like this support communities as they grow by putting people back to work and laying the foundation for economic development for years to come.”
     The state’s award helped fund road and infrastructure improvements to Woodlawn/Doty Avenue between 103rd Street and 106th Street, parts of which have deteriorated since flooding in 2008. The project includes incorporate sewer and water main improvements that will help prevent damage from future flooding.
     The retail phase of the project is currently underway and will be anchored by Wal-Mart, Ross Dress for Less and Planet Fitness. The new Wal-Mart store will provide grocery services to an area currently classified as a “food desert” for its inaccessibility to fresh foods. Other plans for the 180-acre, mixed use development include affordable housing and park and recreation space.
     “The reconstruction of this section of Doty Avenue represents an important step forward in the recovery and transformation of Pullman,” said David Doig, president of Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives. “Without the vital contribution made by the state of Illinois, this milestone would be extremely difficult to achieve in today’s challenging economic environment. We thank Governor Quinn for his dedication to economic growth and job creation, particularly in underserved communities like Pullman.”
     The project’s economic development assistance comes from the state’s IKE-Disaster Recovery Program named for Hurricane Ike, the 2008 disaster that ranks among the costliest hurricanes to make landfall in the United States. Illinois received a total of $193.7 million in federal disaster funds under the program to aid communities in 41 Illinois counties.
     “The investments we’re making through the IKE program are providing much needed relief in communities throughout the state by helping address limitations to economic growth and future recovery,” DCEO Acting Director Adam Pollet said.
     The IKE-ED program is part of the governor’s continuing commitment to providing essential resources for Illinois’ small and mid-sized communities as they strengthen their economies. Projects approved for IKE-Economic Development assistance support both permanent and construction job creation through funding improvements to local infrastructure, company equipment costs and other assistance that will attract or support private companies in locating or remaining in an affected area.

Pat Barcas’ e-mail address is

Veterans Night Out – Benefit for Honor Flight Chicago

Veterans Night Out – Benefit for Honor Flight Chicago at Ballydoyle Irish Pub in downtown Aurora. Nov. 10, 6 p.m. to Midnight. Tickets available at the door, or contact Herschel Luckinbill at 630-801-9591.
Tickets: $10 per person. Door prize: 50″ TV sponsored by 5th Third Bank; 50/50 drawing and basket raffles.
Come out for a great time. Listen to 3 different live bands, drink a free Irish beer and munch on some delightful hors D’oeuvres.

New winter lights walk ushers in holiday season

Fox Valley Labor News Staff Reports
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012

     Downtown Aurora is ready to shine with a brand new tradition to welcome in the 2012 holiday season.
     The Winter Lights holiday walk, which will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, is a free, family-friendly event featuring art, music, lights, complimentary refreshments and the lighting of the City’s official holiday tree. The festivities will take place on Downer Place, Stolp Avenue and Galena Boulevard in the downtown.
     Patrons are invited to shop at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place, where more than a dozen local and regional artisans will have numerous holiday treasures on display for purchase.
     Families can watch ice sculptor Joe Gagnepain perfect his craft outside the Art and History Center before strolling through luminaria-lit streets listening to holiday carols. The Fox Valley Festival Chorus, which has been selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City next spring, will be singing holiday favorites at 5:30 p.m. at the Millennium Plaza along the Fox River on Stolp Avenue.
     Following the choir performance, patrons can head over to North Island Center, 8 E. Galena Blvd., where the City of Aurora’s official holiday tree will be lit for the first time at 6 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with the Miss Merry Christmas and Jack Frost winners, will be on hand to help Mayor Tom Weisner light the tree.
     Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras because Santa will be available for photos back at the Art and History Center following the tree lighting. Other holiday treats will be available for purchase at River’s Edge Café, 14 W. Downer Place, where various musical groups will be performing throughout the evening.
     Local businesses are encouraged to take part and decorate for the Winter Lights event, and a traveling trophy will be awarded to the best decorated store front. Business owners wanting to participate can pick up an application at the City’s Community Services Department, 5 E. Downer Place, Suite A. Applications can be returned to Dee Basile via email at or by fax at 630-256-3379.
     Decorations must be completed and displayed by Wednesday, Nov. 14. Judging will take place on Thursday, Nov. 15 and the winner will be announced during the holiday tree lighting ceremony.
     Featured Winter Lights artists are Laura Nicholson Tom, jewelry; Retta Hentschel, stained glass; Cory McCrory, clay; Carolyn Krainak, glass jewelry; Jen Evans, painting; Cheryl Holz, mixed media and jewelry; Fawn Clark Peterson, clay sculpture; Maureen Gasek, painting and jewelry; Tania Blanco, cards; Tammy Deck, felt clothing; Anne Von Her, pastels; Cass Alexander, hand-cut silhouettes; Jeff Weber, candles and hand-crafted guitars; Natasha Lehrer, fiber arts; Joyce Reuland, books and cards; and Susan Borghesi, clay.
     Other local musicians scheduled to perform include the Empty Can Band, East Aurora High School, Aurora Christian School, Cub Scout Pack 643 and Girl Scout Troop 4187. The event is sponsored by the City of Aurora in conjunction with Cultural Creatives, Inc., the Aurora Public Art Commission and Rotary Club of Aurora.

Chicago passes SEIU Local 73, IBEW Local 21 contract

By Pat Barcas
Staff Writer
Thursday, Oct. 11

     CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council approved a new four-year contract agreement Oct. 2 with the SEIU Local 73 and IBEW Local 21 — which together comprise the Public Safety Employees Unit II bargaining unit, made up of 2,500 union workers.
     Unit II consists of approximately 2,100 employees represented by SEIU Local 73, as well as 400 employees represented by IBEW Local 21. The new agreement extends through June 30, 2016.
     “This is a practical, reasonable agreement that is good for the taxpayers, good for the workers, and good for the city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This agreement is a direct representation of the positive outcomes that result when both parties sit down and negotiate in good faith with the best interests of the city in mind.”
     The basic economic terms of the agreement are as follows:
     The employees will receive 1.5 percent raises Jan. 1, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014, and will receive 1 percent raises on Jan. 1, 2015; July 1, 2015; and Jan. 1, 2016. The agreement also will include a single lump sum payment for employees, payable 30 days after the agreement is ratified by the City Council. These payments will range from $150 to $500 per employee.
     In addition, the wage rates for full-time “entry-level” employees (during the first five years of employment), will be frozen at current levels during the term of the agreement, allowing these rates to be economically competitive with those in the private sector and elsewhere.
Such full-time employees will continue to be eligible for annual step increases.
     “The new agreement guarantees these dedicated employees wage increases over the four-year term, and continues the opportunity for public employees to provide critical public safety services to the residents of this great city,” said SEIU Local 73 Business Manager Matt Brandon. “I want to take this opportunity to thank Mayor Emanuel and the City’s negotiating team for removing the uncertainty of unpaid furlough days and unpaid holidays from the negotiating process. Although these were tough negotiations, I truly believe that this was an open and honest process that required both the city and the unions to make the necessary sacrifices that addressed the pressing concerns that this troubled economy has placed on the workers and the residents of the City of Chicago.”

Pat Barcas’ e-mail address is