Losing Fear: Sandra Roman ascends from Treasure Island worker to leader in a labor movement

Sandra Roman is a lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit charging that the abrupt closures of seven Chicago-area Treasure Island stores violate state and federal laws called the WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act), which require that companies with over 75 full-time employees provide at least 60 days notice to workers before mass closures and layoffs. When the stores closed, workers lost their accrued paid time off and health care benefits, and never got the severance pay that the law would require.

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In an effort to protect unions and raise wages, Fight For $15 mobilizes workers to vote in Illinois’ gubernatorial elections

In the month leading up to the election, Shantonia Jackson along with other members of the national grassroots movement Fight for 15 and the labor union SEIU have knocked on thousands of fellow workers’ doors in a push to convince new or reluctant voters to head to the polls.

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Treasure Island workers call for justice and file class-action lawsuit after sudden layoffs

The 700 or so Treasure Island workers who were laid off September 29 received no advance notice that their employment would be terminated. They also lost their health insurance and paid vacation time they had not taken. Now, with the support of Arise Chicago, they are demanding compensation equal to 60 days of work and extended healthcare.

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To Chicago hotel workers on strike, year-round health insurance is essential

As business slows at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel every winter, Chiquitta Rivers, 26, a house attendant, is laid off and loses her health insurance. Rivers lives with diabetes and being uninsured makes obtaining medicine difficult. “When I get laid off, I don’t have health insurance and I can’t take my insulin,” she said. “I can’t see my endocrinologist. It is really hard for me to [pay] out of pocket for my medicine, especially if I’m not working.” On Sept. 7, she went on strike with hotel workers across Chicago, demanding year-round health insurance, healthier work conditions and increased wages.

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