Category: Press Releases

Dunkin’ Donuts Managers Attempt to Infiltrate Worker Meeting, Use Fake Identities

For Immediate Release                                                                                              May 13, 2016

Media Contact:

Adam Kader, Arise Chicago Worker Center Director

773-937-1826 | adam@arisechicago.org

 

Dunkin’ Donuts Managers Attempt to Infiltrate Worker Meeting, 

Use Fake Identities

 

Chicago: On Friday, May 13, 2016, Dunkin’ Donuts workers met at Arise Chicago’s Worker Center to learn their rights and discuss workplace conditions, only to discover that three upper management representatives from several franchises, disguised as workers, were in attendance. Workers immediately identified one as an associate of management named in a current lawsuit while two others remained for the presentation.

 

Workers then came forward after the meeting and revealed the two managers’ true identity. General Manager Evelia Gutierrez and Store Manager Rosa Angulo of a Dunkin’ Donuts located at 6237 S. Halsted falsified names and contact information in order to stay in the meeting, despite organizers stating that the meeting was only for workers and management was not allowed.  Sanjeev Khatau, who owns the Halsted store and 18 other locations in the Chicago area and sits on the Baskin Robbins Brand Advisory Council, faced a class action lawsuit for wage theft in 2007.

 

“We are disappointed that management would go to such lengths to prevent its workers from knowing their rights under the law” stated Adam Kader, Arise Chicago Worker Center Director.

 

The National Labor Relations Act prohibits employers from intimidating workers or obstructing their attempts to organize because of the chilling effect it could have on workers exercising their legal rights.

 

Arise Chicago members, Christina Padilla and Jessica Zamudio, are suing their former employer, who owns and operates 16 Dunkin’ Donuts franchise locations, for wage theft. After Padilla led a press conference on May 4, 2016, other former and current workers of Dunkin’ Donuts franchises contacted Arise Chicago.

 

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Workers and Faith Leaders Insist on Paid Sick Days Ordinance

PRESS RELEASE

April 5, 2016:  For immediate release

Workers and Faith Leaders Insist on Paid Sick Days Ordinance

Call for swift action after release of Task Force Report

Contact: Shelly Ruzicka

shelly@arisechicago.org I 773-251-5003

 

Arise Chicago welcomes the release of the long-awaited Working Families Task Force report. The report represents recommendations, including a framework for paid sick days, based on the different voices represented on the task force.

“Arise Chicago is pleased that the mayor engaged and listened to the working people of the city, including our members, who are in desperate need of relief in the form of paid sick time” said Worker Center Program Director, Adam Kader. “We now urge the administration and City Council to swiftly pass an ordinance based on the report’s recommendations.”

Abraham Cabrera is a restaurant delivery driver and member of Arise Chicago who has never had paid sick days. “I work hard to provide for my two young children, both of whom have asthma. When one becomes sick, I must bring them to the ER, stay with them for the day, and miss a day of work and pay. No one should have to chose between the physical health of the kids and the financial health of their family. There are many thousands of workers just like me who face these impossible choices, and who would have concretely better lives with a paid sick days ordinance.”

Arise Chicago’s members are low-wage, primarily immigrant workers and workers of color, working in the lowest paid industries across Chicago, and would all greatly benefit from such an ordinance.

Rev. Liz Muñoz, from  Nuestra Señora de las Américas church in Logan Square, and Arise board member sees the benefits an ordinance would have on the working class Latino members she serves. “Low-wage workers, who are disproportionately from Black and Latino communities, have the least access to paid sick days. Passing a paid sick days ordinance therefore is not only the morally right thing to do, but would help address economic and racial injustice in Chicago.”  

Arise board member Ana Laura Lopez worked in retail for 10 years without paid sick days.

“They always told us that if we needed time off we had to give two weeks notice, which was sometimes illogical or impossible. No one plans when they or their child will be sick. Employers must not forget that we are human beings, we are parents, who want to be home with our kids when they get sick just like they do. I really hope for a paid sick days ordinance. It will benefit working parents and really, all workers.”

Faith leaders agree that paid sick days are critical for building strong and healthy families and  communities across Chicago.

“Being able to care for one’s health and the health of family members is a moral issue. A low-wage worker should have the same ability as any other worker to stay home and care for sick child. A paid sick days ordinance can make that a reality” stated Rev. John Thomas, Arise Chicago board member

A paid sick days ordinance would affect almost half of all private sector workers in Chicago. Such an ordinance would mean that workers would no longer need to literally choose between their health and their job. A paid sick days ordinance would also mean that, in many workplaces, such as any related to food production or service, the public’s health would be protected.

A complete statement on the release of the report is available on the Arise Chicago website.

 

Below is an excerpt from the Working Families Task Force Report’s Executive Summary

Paid Sick Leave

The Task Force recommended a framework that would provide workers with paid sick leave while having a nominal impact on employer costs. This proposal would:

 

  • Allow workers to accrue and use up to 5 earned sick days over the course of 1 year.
  • Workers would earn sick time at a rate of 1 hour earned for every 40 hours worked. This approach ensures that employees earn and accrue sick time at a proportional rate based on hours worked.
  • Accrued sick leave could be used by new employees after an initial 6-month probationary period.
  • Allow employees to roll over up to 2.5 unused sick days to the following year.
  • Exempt employers that offer combined leave benefits such as Paid Time Off (PTO) from these requirements as long as employees could accrue and use up to 5 days of PTO within a calendar year.
  • This framework would not require the pay out of unused sick days by the employer and it would also exempt sick leave benefits that are negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement.

 

 

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On Anniversary of Dr. King’s Death, Clergy Call on Springfield to Negotiate with State Workers

Clergy Call on Rauner to Negotiate with State Workers

Faith leaders appeal to governor’s ethics, lament suffering of workers and service recipients

State workers prayer and press conference April 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact: Shelly Ruzicka

773-251-5003   shelly@arisechicago.org

CHICAGO–On the 48th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Chicagoland clergy called on Governor Rauner to honor King’s legacy of fighting for economic and racial justice including supporting sanitation workers in Memphis, where he was killed.

Rev. Robert Jones of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church reflected on the civil rights leader. “Dr. King went to Memphis to advocate that our government be a place where no one is left behind, and that the most vulnerable are cared for with compassion and diligence. We come together today because Dr. King’s message of what government should be continues to resonate here in Illinois.”

AFSCME Council 31 member Stephen Mittons raised concerns for his clients if negotiations do not move forward. “I work for DCFS. We are the parent of last resort for every minor child in the state.  What would abused and neglected children do during a government shutdown?”

He also commented on the rarity of the impasse.

“For over 40 years, Illinois state employees have always been able to reach contract settlements without a work stoppage. Despite sometimes difficult negotiations, state government unions have always strongly preferred to avoid the disruption of services that could result from a strike. We are supporting legislation that provides for an alternative to a strike as a means of resolving disputes in contract negotiations.”

Arise Chicago board member, Rev. Liz Muñoz of La Señora de las Américas church appealed to Rauner’s Episcopal faith. “According to internet source Bruce Rauner claims membership in the Episcopal Church.  As an Episcopal priest I would like to remind him that in our baptismal covenant we promise to respect the dignity of all human beings.  This means we have a responsibility  to work for the common good of all people especially the most vulnerable in our communities.  At our General Conventions, our national assembly, we have affirmed and resolved to support the right for workers to organize for just wages and decent working conditions.  We call on the governor to honor these values and commitments.  This is not only for the physical and spiritual well being of the most vulnerable in our society but also for the well being of Governor Rauner’s own soul.

Rev. Muñoz also shared an open letter to Governor Rauner and the General Assembly, calling for constructive contract negotiations. The letter was signed by 150 faith leaders in Illinois collected by Arise Chicago.

Personal assistant care worker, and Chair of the Executive Board of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Flora Johnson echoed the appeal to Governor Rauner’s morality.

“None of this is about saving taxpayer dollars. And it certainly isn’t about improving the welfare and condition of our vulnerable. This is all about Governor Rauner’s single-minded desire to weaken or exterminate unions outright. The Scripture says that the cries of the Poor reach the heavens. But, as we have seen throughout this nightmare period, they do not reach Bruce Rauner.”

She also voiced concern about those most impacted by the stalled contract negotiations and lack of a state budget. “We are here to commemorate the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King. He understood the direct link between racial justice and economic justice and that is why he died supporting the union movement. It is no coincidence in my mind that the cuts and disruptions being enacted by Governor Rauner fall disproportionately on the heads of women and people of color. This is wrong and we are called by our conscience to stop him.”

Twenty-five year veteran mental health technician and AFSCME member, Roberto Botello said his fellow union members are worried not only about their own families, but the people they serve. “ Every state employee I know wants a peaceful resolution to our current contract negotiations. We want a fair contract for ourselves as workers, and we also want to protect the vital services we provide to our clients.”

Department of Human Services case worker Darneice Cooper reiterated the sentiment of concern for clients. “We care about the people we serve. But what will happen if the governor gets to take out all the safeguards against privatization in our contract? Think about what privatization would mean for the Department of Children and Family Services. How do you put a price on a child’s wellbeing? Why should any big corporation make a profit off of services to troubled families? You cannot truly serve children and at the same time make profits your top priority.”

Rev. Jones called for the kind of government and society that Dr. King envisioned. “We want Illinois to be a place where service providers are not demonized but cherished for the sacrifices they make and respected for the professional services they provide. On this day, let us honor the memory of Dr. King as we claim the urgency for immediate and quantitative change in the lives of Illinois citizens.”

 

Text of the letter from Illinois religious leaders is included below.

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER AND THE ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Our faith traditions provide a moral compass and direction for the current situation in Illinois.  First, we are called to care for our individual neighbors, especially the most vulnerable among us. Second, the work we do should strengthen the common good of society.  Third, each worker has been created in the image of God and is deserving of dignity.

Therefore, we are alarmed by the recent halt in contract negotiations that: create life-threatening consequences for vulnerable populations; dismantle the serving of the common good; and harm the workers serving Illinois citizens.  

By honoring our state workers who provide vital services each day — helping those in need, safeguarding at-risk children, assisting veterans, protecting the environment, responding to natural disasters, and much more – we care for our neighbors and strengthen the common good.

We call upon Gov. Rauner to work constructively through the established bargaining process to reach a resolution, rather than intensifying conflict.  

We call upon you all to take steps that would allow a process of mediation and arbitration with the public employee union that is far more effective than confrontation, especially in our battle-weary Illinois.

We call upon you all to take measures that promote a peaceful path forward that will best serve all of the people of Illinois.

 

Photos available upon request.


Interviews with clergy and workers available upon request.

Statement on Release of the Working Families Task Force Report

Arise Chicago’s Statement on Release of the Working Families Task Force Report

Abraham at EST presser 2015

Arise Chicago welcomes the release of the long-anticipated report by the City of Chicago’s Working Families Task Force report, and its recommendation for guaranteed paid sick day legislation for Chicago’s entire private sector workforce.

 

At Arise Chicago we hear daily from dozens of workers in some of the toughest, lowest-paying, and most precarious workplaces across the city. We hear workers express their workplace struggles and needs, as well as their desires; desires to lift up their families. Too often, private workplace policies suppress workers’ opportunities to lift themselves and loved ones out of poverty and to advance in their work life.

There are common-sense solutions within reach. Permitting workers to attend to physical and mental health needs without sacrificing pay or their very job is one such solution. When employers, left to their own discretion, fail to provide the most basic of standards, workers must advocate for policies in the public realm.  

That is why three years ago, Arise Chicago joined forces with other workers’ groups and advocacy organizations to form the Chicago Earned Sick Time Coalition. Together, we introduced a paid sick days ordinance and kicked off a city-wide conversation. In the city’s 2015 election, 82% of Chicagoans supported the idea of mandatory paid sick days.  Arise Chicago’s Executive Director, Rev. C.J. Hawking, was selected to serve on the City’s Working Families Task Force, where she advocated for paid sick days as a righteous cause, an economic necessity, and a sensible policy. Arise Chicago mobilized its worker members to participate in 5 of the 6 neighborhood focus groups on the topic and to share stories with the media about their struggle without paid sick days. And Arise Chicago collected signed support from from prominent faith leaders across a dozen religious traditions.     

Arise Chicago is pleased that the mayor engaged and listened to the working people of Chicago, including Arise Chicago’s own worker members, who are in need of immediate relief. The report represents recommendations, including a framework for paid sick days, based on the different voices represented on the task force.

We are saddened by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Retail Merchants Association’s public opposition to the recommendation. We find it dismaying how out of touch these two interest groups are from the overwhelming majority of Chicagoans.

A paid sick days ordinance would affect almost half of all private sector workers in Chicago. Such an ordinance would mean that workers would no longer need to literally choose between their health and their job. A paid sick days ordinance would also mean that, in many workplaces, such as any related to food production or service, the public’s health would be protected. Such an ordinance would provide a measure of stability and peace of mind from the uncertainty and anxiety currently experienced by Chicagoans from truckers to domestic workers, bus boys to car wash workers. A paid sick days ordinance would allow Chicago to catch up with the 5 states and 22 cities with such a policy, including New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, and Pittsburgh.

Arise Chicago urges the Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council to swiftly pass an ordinance based on the Report’s recommendations.

Below is an excerpt from the Working Families Task Force Report’s Executive Summary

Paid Sick Leave

The Task Force recommended a framework that would provide workers with paid sick leave while having a nominal impact on employer costs. This proposal would:

  • Allow workers to accrue and use up to 5 earned sick days over the course of 1 year.
  • Workers would earn sick time at a rate of 1 hour earned for every 40 hours worked. This approach ensures that employees earn and accrue sick time at a proportional rate based on hours worked.
  • Accrued sick leave could be used by new employees after an initial 6-month probationary period.
  • Allow employees to roll over up to 2.5 unused sick days to the following year.
  • Exempt employers that offer combined leave benefits such as Paid Time Off (PTO) from these requirements as long as employees could accrue and use up to 5 days of PTO within a calendar year.
  • This framework would not require the pay out of unused sick days by the employer and it would also exempt sick leave benefits that are negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement.

 

Please direct questions about the report, and requests for interviews about a paid sick days ordinance with Arise Chicago, low-wage workers, or religious leaders to Shelly Ruzicka

 

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