FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Adam Kader, Worker Center Director, Arise Chicago (English & español)
773-937-1826 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Kaplan, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (English)
847-903-4895 | email@example.com
When: Tuesday, February 10th, 4:00 PM
Where: Cook County Building, 118 N. Clark, 5th Floor Press Conference Room
What: Press Conference to announce the results of the Cook County Board’s vote on
landmark anti-wage theft policy
At the February 10th Cook County Board meeting, Commissioners will vote on an ordinance introduced by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski that will prohibit businesses who engage in wage theft from obtaining county contracts, business licenses and property tax incentives. Businesses seeking these services and benefits from the County would need to certify compliance with wage and hour laws and maintain compliance for continued eligibility.
Inspired by advocacy by workers’ rights organization, Arise Chicago, surrounding the recent closing of Source Interlink in McCook, Commissioner Tobolski led the effort to introduce new regulations that will prevent willful and repeat violators of existing wage laws from benefitting from Cook County benefits. “Millions of dollars in wages are stolen from workers by their own employers every year, and businesses who take advantage of Cook County workers should not benefit from Cook County contracts, licenses and property tax incentives,” said Tobolski.
Angelina Landaverde, Arise Chicago member and a leader of the Source Interlink workplace campaign that inspired the Ordinance states, “When our employer closed our plant without providing us any notice and without paying us severance, it was a terrible thing. But I’m glad that something good could come out of it, and I’m proud to support this bill.”
Arise Chicago has identified 17 ways in which employers do not pay full wages to their employees, the most common ways being paying below the legally-mandated minimum wage or failing to properly compensate employees for working overtime hours. A 2009 study calculates wage theft county-wide to total $7.3 million per week. If the bill passes, Cook County will become the largest county in the United States with such a policy.
“For businesses and working people to thrive in Cook County, we need to be morally grounded in our business ethics. We applaud Commissioner Tobolski and President Preckwinkle for their leadership on this ordinance, which is a building block in making Cook County the most ethical place in the country to do business!” says Arise Chicago Executive Director, Rev. C.J. Hawking.
A broad coalition of community organizations representing low-wage workers and their allies, including the Raise the Floor alliance of area worker centers, and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) support the proposed ordinance. JCUA Board President, Peggy Slater, says, “The Torah commands, ‘You shall not oppress your fellow. You shall not rob. The hired worker’s wage shall not remain with you overnight until morning (Leviticus 19:13).’ Our values clearly compel us to protect workers’ rights. We are proud to stand against wage theft and urge Cook County to pass this ordinance.”
Arise Chicago Cook Co Media Advisory.docx
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
610 S Michigan Ave #400
Chicago, IL 60605
312-663-0960 ext. 125
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The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting. Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.