By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – In a September 2014 report prepared for the United Nations Committee Against Torture, a grassroots effort called We Charge Genocide documented that, “Young people of color in communities across Chicago are consistently profiled, targeted, harassed, and subjected to excessive force by the (predominantly white) [Chicago Police Department]—leaving far too many physically injured, killed, and emotionally scarred.” The investigation, led by directly impacted Chicago residents, determined that between 2009 and 2011, 92 percent of all CPD Taser uses targeted black or Latino people. Black residents are 10 times more likely to be shot by the CPD than their white counterparts, the probe found…
By Dianne Feeley for Labor Notes – Last week auto workers from Chicago and Detroit made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of auto workers’ sit-down strikes to lend solidarity to workers who’ve been locked out for eight months and counting. Honeywell locked out 320 aerospace workers with Auto Workers (UAW) Local 9 in South Bend, Indiana, on May 9 after they voted 270-30 to reject the company’s offer. Another 40 Honeywell workers with Local 1508 at in Green Island, New York, are also locked out. Honeywell was demanding the power to change health care premiums and deductibles unilaterally. The rejected proposal would also have eliminated cost-of-living increases and retiree health care…
By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – Chicago police systematically violated people’s civil rights by routinely using excessive force, particularly against African-Americans and Latinos, according to a bombshell report (pdf) from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released Friday. The report is the conclusion of a 13-month investigation into the Chicago Police Department (CPD), launched after the October 2014 police killing of 17-year-old black Chicago resident Laquan McDonald, whose fatal shooting was captured by the patrol car’s dashboard camera. According to the inquiry, police routinely violated the Fourth Amendment by using “unnecessary and avoidable” force, including deadly force, which investigators attributed to poor training and accountability systems.
By Natalie Y Moore for The Guardian – In a couple of days, President Barack Obama will give a farewell speech in his adopted hometown of Chicago. This is the city to which he moved as a young man in the 1980s, to work asacommunityorganiser, inspired by Harold Washington, the city’s first black mayor. Chicago is also where Obama met his wife, Michelle, a native of the city, had two daughters and launched a dazzling political career. Obama’s swan song will take place a touch north of Bronzeville, the South Side neighbourhood historically known as the “Black Belt”. When African Americans left the south in droves a century ago as part of the great migration, this is where they landed if Chicago was the final destination.
By Curtis Black for The Chicago Reporter – On a frigid evening near the close of 2016, while going to a meeting at Goose Island, I was a bit startled to recall another frigid gathering there eight years earlier. In 2008, Barack Obama was president-elect, the economy was collapsing, and the workers at Republic Windows and Doors occupied their factory to protest its sudden shutdown. You stepped inside the building and saw the very serious faces of blue-collar workers, mainly black and Latino, who had taken a very serious step at great personal risk in order to take back some control over their future—and perhaps set an example for the rest of us.
By Timothy Mclaughlin for The Huffington Post – Chicago will pay around $5.4 million in settlements for two men killed by police officers after the city council voted to approve the payments on Wednesday. The estate of Cedrick Chatman, 17, who was shot and killed by police officers in January 2013, was awarded $3 million, while the estate of Darius Pinex, 27, who was killed during a 2011 traffic stop, was awarded $2.36 million. Both men were black. Both killings brought increased scrutiny of the Chicago Police Department for its use of deadly force as well as criticism of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handling of shootings involving the police.
By Sam Charles for Chicago Sun Times – Thousands of people marched and protested through downtown Chicago on Wednesday night, voicing their disdain — in no uncertain terms — with Tuesday’s election of Donald Trump to be the 45th president. The protest began shortly before 5 p.m. outside the Trump Tower at 401 N. Wabash. What began as a group of a few dozen soon grew to a crowd of about 1,800 to 2,000 people after three groups combined into one, said Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi
By Leah Fried for Labor Notes – Extracting wins from the boss has never been easy—and union membership hovering at a low 11 percent isn’t making it any easier. But a good way to boost our numbers and power is to partner with people who are organized in other ways, building a broader movement as we build our unions. For several years the Chicago Teachers Union has put incredible effort into building unity—not only among its members, but also with parents and neighborhood groups.
By David Moberg for In These Times – The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) reached a last-minute deal with the Board of Education late Monday night, narrowly averting a strike. “There will be classes in the morning,” said CTU President Karen Lewis, announcing the tentative contract agreement. Chicago teachers had planned to strike starting Tuesday in an escalation of their campaign to defend their jobs and improve the education of the students and the communities they serve.
By Aaron Cynic for Chicagoist – Fifteen people were arrested Sunday afternoon after locking down the intersection of Wacker and Michigan to protest a police tactical officers’ conference happening in suburban Hoffman Estates. Activists blocked traffic for nearly 90 minutes by chaining themselves together with lockboxes, tubes wrapped around their arms made of pipe, duct tape and metal wiring. Several dozen flanked the sidewalks on each side of the intersection, chanting “No borders, no pipelines, no prisons or police,” and “cops, SWAT & soldiers, do yourselves a favor, stay the fuck away from our Muslim friends and neighbors.”
By Veronica Graves for The Root – Leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union say that if a deal is not cut with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on a new contract, then a strike will occur beginning Tuesday morning, USA Today reports. The teachers have been working without a contract for over a year, with the main argument in this dispute involving teacher compensation. The union wants the new deal to include no cuts to benefits, guarantees on job security and an increase in spending on the school district’s students by $200 million. The district has about 380,000 students.
By Jamie Kalven for The Intercept – ON MAY 31, the city of Chicago agreed to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by two police officers who allege they suffered retaliation for reporting and investigating criminal activity by fellow officers. The settlement, for $2 million, was announced moments before the trial was to begin. As the trial date approached, city lawyers had made a motion to exclude the words “code of silence” from the proceedings.
By Karen Pierog and Dave McKinney for Reuters – The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved a one-year suspension for Wells Fargo & Co from city business because of its scandal over phony accounts, joining the states of Illinois and California in punishing the bank. The ban includes bond underwriting, brokerage, trustee and other services the bank has provided to the city. Wells Fargo has earned $19.5 million in fees from Chicago since 2005.
By Staff of Parents 4 Teachers – Chicago teachers’ decision to strike Oct. 11 unless a fair agreement is reached should be a wakeup call for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It shows that teachers are, once again, ready to fight to protect their profession and their classrooms. This is good news, not bad, for CPS parents. While no one wants a strike—not teachers, not parents—the union and its threat to strike give it leverage against the mayor and his rubberstamp school board few other groups have.
By Chloe Riley for Equal Voice for Families. CHICAGO – In Roxanne Smith’s kitchen, a framed excerpt from Barack Obama’s 2008 Grant Park presidential victory speech hangs for all to see. “America, we have come so far,” it reads. “But there is so much more to do.” Smith, 60, has come a long way herself in recent years. In 2013, she faced potential homelessness after the Northwest Side apartment where she lives with her 35-year-old son was foreclosed upon. At the time, the downstairs neighbors in her two-flat apartment complex had accepted a payout and left the building. But Smith, whose son Roget lives with a developmental disability, couldn’t afford to leave. Sitting in the dining room of her two-bedroom apartment, Smith holds tight to a green plastic bag, which was left on her door over a year and a half ago.