Tag Archives: Illinois

As Temps Soar, State AGs Urge OSHA to Implement Heat Protections for Worker Safety

“As our summers grow hotter and more deadly, OSHA must heed the call of these seven AGs and issue an emergency heat standard to protect workers,” said one public health advocate.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 2-9-2023 by Common Dreams

Migrant workers carefully choose and cutoff yellow squash at Kirby Farms in Mechanicsville, VA Photo: USDA/flickr/CC

Attorneys general from seven U.S. states on Thursday called for swift federal action to shield workers nationwide from the deadly effects of extreme heat, which is being made worse by the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis.

In a petition to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the state AGs of California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania urged the agency to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect workers who are exposed to dangerously high temperatures by May 1, before the start of summer. Continue reading

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OSHA Fines Amazon ‘Roughly 0.000013%’ of Annual Revenue for Worker Safety Hazards

For serious injuries linked to the company’s insistence that employees maintain a relentless pace of work, Amazon was fined $60,000—the amount it made “every four seconds in 2022.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 1-19-2023 by Common Dreams

Amazon Warehouse. Photo: Jaimie Wilson/flickr/CC

A paltry $60,000 fine for failing to keep employees safe at one of the world’s richest companies offered the latest evidence, according to one critic, that the system ostensibly meant to protect workers “is so broken.”

That was the assessment of Paris Marx, host of the podcast “Tech Won’t Save Us,” after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced Wednesday it had issued a citation to Amazon for worker safety violations at three of its warehouses in Deltona, Florida; Waukegan, Illinois; and New Windsor, New York. Continue reading

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Because Congress ‘Won’t Act,’ Lawmakers in Seven States Team Up to Introduce Wealth Tax Bills

“States are stepping up to make billionaires pay their fair share, and it’s time for Congress to take action too,” said U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

By Jake Johnson.  Published 1-18-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

Frustrated with federal inaction in the face of soaring inequality, Democratic lawmakers in seven states across the U.S. are teaming up this week to simultaneously introduce wealth tax bills targeting the fortunes of billionaires and other rich individuals who have seen their net worth explode in recent years.

Officially launching on Thursday, the first-of-its-kind effort is led by state lawmakers in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, and Washington—collectively home to around 60% of the country’s wealth. Continue reading

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Record Number of US Cities, Counties, and States to Raise Minimum Wage in 2023

“The monumental impact of the Fight for $15 is clearly visible in this year’s record wage increases,” said one worker advocate. “While it is encouraging to see boosts… we need federal policy.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 12-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Strike and protest for a $15/hour minimum wage at the University of Minnesota in 2015 Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

After a decade since the launch of the Fight for $15 movement in New York City, a record number of U.S. states and communities are set to raise the minimum wage in the new year.

From New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day, the minimum wage will increase in 23 states and 41 cities and counties, according to a report released Thursday by the National Employment Law Project (NELP). In 40 of those 64 jurisdictions, it will hit or exceed $15 an hour for at least some workers. Continue reading

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Calls for US Facial Recognition Ban Grow After Mom Booted From Theater Over Her Job

“This is exactly why we need an outright ban on all use of facial recognition surveillance in places of public accommodation like bars, restaurants, retail stores, and music and sports venues,” said one digital rights campaigner.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-20-2022 by Common Dreams

The Christmas tree at the Radio City Music Hall. Photo: gigi_nyc/flickr/CC

Digital rights advocates on Tuesday called for a ban on private use of biometric surveillance technology after a mom taking her daughter to see a Christmas show in New York City was kicked out of the theater after its facial recognition system identified her as an employee of a law firm involved in legal proceedings against the venue’s operator.

Kelly Conlon was accompanying her daughter and her New Jersey Girl Scout troop on a post-Thanksgiving outing to Midtown Manhattan to see the “Christmas Spectacular” at Radio City Music Hall starring the iconic Rockettes. However, as soon Conlon entered the venue’s lobby, security informed her that she’d been flagged by facial recognition and that she would have to leave. Continue reading

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Marches on US Main Streets Center Poor Voters’ Demands Ahead of Midterms

“The priorities of poor and low-income people are on the ballot this election—from healthcare to living wages to social programs that lift the load of poverty and much more,” said Poor People’s Campaign co-chair Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 10-15-2022 by Common Dreams

The Poor People’s Campaign organized get-out-the-vote marches across the United States, including in Westminster, Maryland, on October 15, 2022. (Photo: Maryland Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

Less than a month before Election Day, low-income people and allies came together across the United States on Saturday as part of a get-out-the-vote push by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

The campaign aims to reach at least five million people by the midterm elections next month, spreading the word that “if we ever needed to vote for democracy and justice, we sure do need to vote now!” However, the effort also has a message for politicians. Continue reading

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Privacy Advocates Celebrate ‘Big Win’ Against Facial Recognition Giant

“This settlement demonstrates that strong privacy laws can provide real protections against abuse,” an ACLU attorney said of a deal with Clearview AI.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-9-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Pixabay

A historic settlement filed in court on Monday highlighted the power of Illinois’ strong privacy law and will result in new nationwide restrictions on a controversial technology company infamous for selling access to the largest known database of facial images.

The deal permanently banning Clearview AI from providing most private entities with free or paid access to its database stems from a lawsuit that the ACLU and partners f in 2020, arguing that the company violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Continue reading

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International Support Grows for Mexico’s Lawsuit Against US Gun-Makers

“I feel very encouraged because this means that what we are doing as a government is worth doing,” a Mexican official said. “We are confirming that the missing link in this whole equation of illicit trafficking is the gun companies.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 2-1-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: WFXB

In a big boost to the Mexican government’s historic federal lawsuit against American gun-makers, 13 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, two countries, a coalition of attorneys general, and numerous advocacy groups on Monday filed or joined amicus briefs supporting Mexico’s litigation, which seeks to hold weapons manufacturers accountable for the violence they facilitate.

Law.com reports attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Oregon joined an amicus brief filed by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey urging a federal court in Boston to deny the gun-makers’ motions to dismiss the suit. Continue reading

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Sioux Tribe Withdraws as Cooperating Agency Over Dakota Access Pipeline Threat

“The prospect of an oil spill during such low water is truly scary,” says the tribe’s Water Resources Department administrator.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 1-27-2022 by Common Dreams.

Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Thursday confirmed that it is no longer a “cooperating agency” for the Dakota Access oil pipeline and demanded federal action to address concerns that a leak could affect Lake Oahe, the tribe’s only source of fresh drinking water.

Janet Alkire, the tribe’s newly elected chairperson, warned in a statement that low water levels resulting from “misplaced priorities in the operation of Oahe and the other dams on the Missouri River” could affect cleanup plans in the event of a Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) spill. Continue reading

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‘This Is a Big Deal’: Amazon Settlement With NLRB Could Ease Worker Unionization Efforts

“This settlement agreement provides a crucial commitment from Amazon to millions of its workers across the United States that it will not interfere with their right to act collectively to improve their workplace by forming a union or taking other collective action.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-23-2021 by Common Dreams

A demonstration supporting Amazon workers in Philadelphia on Marh 20, 2021. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

As Amazon faces growing criticism over working conditions and its response to employee organizing, the online retail giant this week finalized a settlement with a federal labor agency that’s expected to make it easier for workers in the United States to unionize.

“This is a big deal,” Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 tweeted Thursday.

The union shared The New York Times‘ reporting on Amazon’s agreement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is the result of six cases of workers saying the company limited their organizing abilities. Continue reading

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