Sunday, June 27, 2010

Warehouse Workers for Justice Surveys Will County Warehouse Workers

In recent years, many warehouses have been built in Will County, such as:

The Bissell Warehouse in Elwood, Illinois.

New warehouses along Laraway Road in Joliet.

The Dollar Tree Warehouse in Joliet.

Warehouses in the CenterPoint Intermodal in Elwood, Illinois

CenterPoint Joliet and the Dollar Tree Warehouse in Joliet

JOLIET--The group Warehouse Workers for Justice are investigating working conditions in Will County Warehouses. Warehouse Workers for Justice are clear about their goals:  They want a living wage for warehouse workers and enforcement of already existing labor laws. 

Speaking recently after a meeting of the Interfaith Action Committee, the members said that after a Martin Luther King event last year, the faith community was drawn “into the struggle for warehouse justice.”

It will take a broad base of warehouse workers to make the changes happen, the members said. “The only way to push back is with a broad based organization.”

Another goal will be to move away from a temporary work force staffed by agencies to a mix of temporary and a high percentage of permanent employees, Stephen Jackson said.

Underway now is a survey designed to provide a better sense of the hard numbers, WWJ coordinator Abraham Mwaura said.  It’s hoped that the survey and the public hearing will be a “launching pad for policy change,” he said.

Members said the existing Illinois  Day Labor and Temporary Services Act  
provides protections that aren’t being enforced “We believe it’s violated all the time,” Jackson said.

When workers are called in and then wait for hours in a cafeteria before eventually being sent home without pay, it’s a violation of the law, they said. Yet, they receive reports that “It’s broken on a regular basis.” 

Other types of violations reported to the committee include:

·         ~Workers being discouraged from reporting health and safety violations,
·                     ~  Agencies not classifying workers into dangerous categories to avoid 
           paying full workers compensation costs                     
~Splitting hours and paying employees separately for hours worked in each  
  department to avoid fulltime weeks

Jobs that pay less than a living wage  put a burden on the local economy, too, they said. Seeing warehouse workers in line at the food pantry brought the issue close to home for one pastor. It illustrates “how close these issues are to the churches, “ Abraham Mwaura, coordiantror WWJ said. “They need and deserve a living wage.”

When the survey of workers is completed, a report will be released at a public hearing, Mwaura said.

It’s hoped the results will lead to a policy of enforcing existing labor laws and a movement to provide a living wage for workers.

Anyone wanting additional information about WWJ may visit the website at or call the hotline at 1-888-DIGNIDAD.

Warehouse Workers for Justice Interfaith Action Committee met recently at Sacred Heart Church in Joliet. They include, from right and clockwise: Eveleyna Washington, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; Charlotte Droogan, Universalists Unitarian Church of Joliet; Rev. Craig Purchase, Mt. Zion Full Gospel Tabernacle and president of the Joliet chapter of the Rainbow Push Coalition; Abraham Mwaura, coordinator WWJ; Stephen Jackson, for the Diocese of Joliet; and Cindy Marble, a former warehouse worker.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Peotone FFA Alumni to Sponsor Waste Oil Collection July 31

A Waste Oil collection will be held from 8 a.m. to Noon, Saturday, July 31 at the Will County Fairgrounds in Peotone.

The event is sponsored by the Peotone FFA Alumni.

All size containers can be emptied, but anyone with over 150 gallons is asked to call the group in advance  to ensure adequate storage. For special needs or questions, interested persons may contact Peotone Agriculture Instructor Doug Thurnau at 618/604-4714; Ray Nugent at 815/592-3304, Corey Brandau at 815/272-5858, or Luke Baskerville at 815/671-1256.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Offerman School--Last One Room Schoolhouse in Joliet Township--Demolished

According to the Friends of Offerman School Website, the Offerman School has been demolished.

Photo of Offerman School on cribbing on CenterPoint Property in the Summer of 2009.

The history of Offerman School is documented in Chapter 5c of the Will County Historic Preservation Committee's Rural Structure Survey of Joliet Township.   According to page 115 of the Survey of Joliet Township:
"Offerman School Site 28 (PIN No. 07-32-100-002) 
This former one-room schoolhouse, constructed circa 1920s, was adapted for residential use in the 1950s. 
The school was used until the completion of the new Laraway School in 1954. Refer to the discussion of 
Joliet Township Schools on page 79. In late 2008, this structure was temporarily relocated to make way 
for the new CenterPoint intermodal shipping facility. The future permanent site and reuse of this building 
is not known. "

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Manhattan American Legion Post 935 Commemorates Memorial Day

Manhattan American Legion Post 935 conducted Memorial Day Ceremonies at cemeteries in Elwood, Manhattan, and Wilton Center, Illinois.

Here is a video from the service at Maple Hill Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois:

Here is a video of the service at the Memorial Stone in Manhattan, Illinois: