Filed under: Labor

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New contract covers 3,000 Chicago hotel workers

Chicago Sun-Times | Employees of Starwood Hotels in Chicago have ratified a contract that raises wages for the next two years. The deal covers 1,200 workers at the Sheraton, Westin Michigan Avenue, Westin River North, W Lakeshore, W City Center and Tremont hotels and another 2,000 at hotels whose contracts pattern the Sheraton’s. The employees, represented by Unite Here Local 1, have been working without a contract since August 2009.

CEOs earn 343 times more than typical workers

In 2010, chief executives at some of the nation’s largest companies earned an average of $11.4 million in total pay — 343 times more than a typical American worker, according to the AFL-CIO.

“Despite the collapse of the financial market at the hands of executives less than 3 years ago, the disparity between CEO and workers’ pay has continued to grow to levels that are simply stunning,“ said Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president. Get the full story »

McPier acts to preserve McCormick Place overhaul

McCormick Place officials Monday asked a federal judge to suspend an injunction that invalidates state-imposed labor-rule changes at the convention center, pending appeal. Get the full story »

Quinn unveils proposed workers’ comp reforms

Monique Garcia and Ray Long | Clout Street| Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday unveiled his proposed overhaul of the state’s workers’ compensation system, suggesting changes his office says will save employers money while preventing potential abuses that have attracted the attention of downstate federal prosecutors.

The governor’s plan to change the way workers are paid after injury or illness on the job includes limiting payments for injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and slashing the amount doctors and hospital receive for treating hurt workers.

Illinois paces decline in latest initial jobless claims

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week, indicating the jobs market continues to gradually recover. Get the full story »

More summer jobs, and they’ll pay better

After suffering through several years of dismal summer job markets, not only will there be more hourly positions this year, but they will pay better.

More than half of hiring managers, or 55 percent, said they plan to hire seasonal workers this summer, according to the survey released Thursday from hourly job site That’s the highest percentage since SnagAJob started the survey four years ago. Get the full story »

UAW boss: Ford CEO’s pay ‘morally wrong’

Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Co., presenting the new Ford Sync system in Germany earlier this month. (Gallup/Getty)

United Auto Workers President Bob King went on the attack at the lucrative pay package of the Ford Motor CEO, saying it was ‘morally wrong’ that Mulally received stock worth about $54.5 million from the company.

“I think Alan Mulally is a great CEO, but I don’t think any human being in the world deserves that much money. I think it’s outrageous,“ said King, speaking to reporters during a three-day union convention in Detroit. King’s remarks come as the union prepares for the first set of labor negotiations with U.S. automakers since the bankruptcies at General Motors and Chrysler Group. Get the full story »

Unions balk as Japan woes put flight crews on edge

Rising radiation levels and continual aftershocks rumbling through Tokyo are raising tensions between pilots and managers at U.S. carriers flying to central Japan.

Union leaders at United and Continental Airlines say flight crews are anxious about deteriorating conditions in Tokyo, where the carriers’ pilots and flight attendants recuperate from long trans-Pacific flights. Get the full story »

Caterpillar strikes 6-year deal with UAW

The UAW says a majority of members at Caterpillar approved the new six-year contract in voting Sunday. The union did not provide specific numbers on how members voted. Get the full story »

Judge OKs class-action against Tribune ESOP trustee

Tribune Co. employees at the time of company’s 2007 leveraged buy-out are eligible to join a class action lawsuit against the ESOP trustee that represented their interests in the takeover by billionaire Sam Zell, a federal judge ruled Friday. Get the full story »

3 theater chains fined over child labor violations

Three movie theater companies will pay more than $275,000 in civil fines after being accused of  violating federal labor laws by allowing dozens of teenagers in nine states, including Illinois, to perform dangerous jobs and work hours longer than allowed by law, the Department of Labor said Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division said about 160 minors at 27 theaters operated by Milwaukee-based Marcus Theatres Corp.;  Regal Cinemas Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn.; and Wehrenberg Inc. of St. Louis violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. Get the full story »

Caterpillar, UAW reach tentative agreement

From the Rockford Register-Star | United Auto Workers representatives said the union has reached a tentative labor agreement with Caterpillar Inc., averting a possible walkout. The UAW says the new, six-year tentative agreement was reached Monday night and will be presented for a ratification vote next weekend.

The agreement would cover some 9,500 hourly production and maintenance workers in Peoria, Aurora, Decatur and Pontiac in Illinois as well as in York, Pa.; Denver; and Memphis, Tenn. | Get the full story>>

Report: Job creation at low end of wage scale

About 86 percent of the more than 1.3 million jobs created in the last year have been in industries that pay wages below $19 per hour, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Employment Law Project, a policy advocacy group.

The report says there is an “striking imbalance” between the jobs lost in the recession and the jobs created in the last 12 months.  For instance, 40 percent of the jobs lost paid $19 to $32 an hour,  but only 14 percent of the jobs created were in this category. Get the full story »

Middle class not better off than their parents

Are you better off than your parents? Probably not if you’re in the middle class.

Incomes for 90 percent of Americans have been stuck in neutral, and it’s not just because of the Great Recession. Middle-class incomes have been stagnant for at least a generation, while the wealthiest tier has surged ahead at lighting speed. Get the full story »

Union authorizes strike at Caterpillar plants

Union workers at Caterpillar Inc. voted by a 94 percent majority to stage a strike against the company should a new contract not be drawn up by March 1, when the existing agreement expires, Illinois’s Peoria Journal Star reported on its website Sunday.

The vote involved union members at seven locals in Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, according to the report. Get the full story »