Thursday, April 28, 2011

Joliet Warehouse Workers Filing Discrimination Charges in Court Today

The group Warehouse Workers for Justice has released the following press release regarding workers in a Joliet warehouse who are filing charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today in Chicago:
"Workers at the Kraft/Cadbury's warehouse in Joliet are filing charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today alleging that DB Schenker - the company running the warehouse - has repeatedly refused to address discrimination claims and has created a hostile work environment.
"There are Nazi signs on the walls," said Angela McDonald, one of the workers at the warehouse. "When you have to work late or on a Saturday you never know what could happen."
A group of Schenker employees, along with Warehouse Workers for Justice, recently met with civil rights representatives and local clergy to request assistance in dealing with the discriminatory practices. One worker described fearing for her safety while walking to her car after being repeatedly harassed during the night shift. "When I'm leaving at one in the morning, there is no security and I know there are people who are hateful and prejudiced in the building. I'm afraid of someone hurting me," said McDonald. 
The EEOC charges allege that when management was approached about the various instances of discrimination, they claimed that the African American and Latino workers were putting up swastika graffiti "to get attention." The offensive graffiti has not been removed from most public areas of the warehouse including the break room and men's rest room, and a vehicle flying confederate flags has been consistently parked on the property near the warehouse entrance.

"When we first saw the swastika grafitti we went to talk to the management. They still have not said that they will take care of any of this," alleged McDonald."

Will County News contacted both Kraft Foods and DB Schenker in order to ask for a response to this press release.  DB Schenker replied that they had not yet received a copy of the complaint.  DB Schenker also replied that once they receive a copy of the filing, they will review it, investigate, and respond accordingly.

Kraft Foods responded that they were not familiar with the specific complaint, and suggest contacting DB Schenker.  Kraft Foods also responded that Kraft Foods works with thousands of suppliers and business partners around the world, and informs those vendors of Kraft's expectation that all vendors comply with all regulations regarding legal compliance.  Kraft Foods provided a link to their expectations of suppliers and business partners.

Here is a video of the workers in Chicago as they filed the complaint paperwork:

View more videos at:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Will County warehouse workers filing suit against Schneider Logistics and Reliable Staffing

The Huffington Post reports a group of workers who worked in Wal-Mart's distribution center in Elwood, Illinois have filed a class-action lawsuit against Schneider Logistics and Reliable Staffing claiming they were not paid what they were owed.

Schneider Logistics is contracted by Wal-Mart to run the distribution warehouse in Elwood.  Reliable staffing, as reported by the Huffington Post, supplies workers for Schneider.  In a press release announcing Schneider's contract with Wal-Mart, a Wal-Mart executive was quoted as saying: ""The Elwood distribution center will provide Wal-Mart the opportunity to better serve our stores throughout the Midwest,” said Johnnie Dobbs, executive vice president of logistics and supply chain for Wal-Mart. “Our partnership with American Port Services, Schneider Logistics and Schneider National will create hundreds of good paying jobs for the region and represents our continued commitment to Illinois as a partner in both economic and community development.""

In a Joliet Herald News article the president of Reliable Staffing stated all workers were paid what they were due according to law.  

In contrast to the comments by Dobbs, the group Warehouse Workers for Justice claims many of the jobs in Will County Warehouses are not good jobs.  Warehouse Workers for Justice claim 2/3 of the workers in Will County warehouses are temps making poverty level wages, based on a survey of warehouse workers conducted by the group.

In response to publication of the survey, the Joliet Herald News published an editorial that warned there was little to protect workers from being exploited in warehouses.  In response to the Herald's editorial, Will County Center for Economic Development CEO and President John Grueling wrote an editorial challenging the methodology and thus the veracity of the Warehouse Workers for Justice survey.  Grueling also wrote, in regards to the warehouse industry, "This industry offers employment opportunities to that segment of the population with the fewest options for earning a living wage."

Here are some videos from the Warehouse Workers for Justice meeting where the group released the findings of its report:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mike Wolfe of American Pickers from Joliet!

Did anyone else do a double-take when Mike Wolfe of American Pickers just said he was from Joliet?

Wolfe has previously explained he grew up poor in Joliet, where he began his career finding bikes and other items in the trash and reselling them.

Maybe newly-elected mayor Tom Giarrante and the City of Joliet could get some sort of financing deal available to bring an Antique Archeology store to downtown Joliet.   There are too many beautiful buildings sitting under utilized.  An Antique Archeology--in my opinion--would bring a great amount of foot traffic downtown, creating an environment where more people would go downtown to shop.  Plus it would draw shoppers from Chicago, producing more customers for downtown shops and restaurants.

What do you think?  A Joliet branch of Antique Archeology to anchor the new shops planned for the downtown Joliet intermodal high-speed rail station?

There is so much history in and around Joliet, from the Joliet Arsenal to Will County's agricultural heritage, an Antique Archeology would be an awesome place to celebrate that history.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Giarrante wins Joliet's Mayoral Election with 3,942 votes (unofficial results)

Tom Giarrante has been elected to be the new mayor of Joliet in the April 2011 election.  According to unofficial results on the Will County Clerk's page, Giarrante has won with 3,942 votes.  Unofficially, 14, 983 people voted in the Joliet Mayoral Election.  According to the 2010 census, the population of Joliet is 147, 433.

Unofficial Results: Tom Giarrante Elected Mayor of Joliet

According to the Will County Clerk's unofficial election results website, Tom Giarrante has been elected Mayor of Joliet.

According to the Will County Clerk's unofficial results, with 111 of 111 precincts reporting, Giarrante has won with 3, 531 votes.   The results are unofficial, from the Will County Clerk: "UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

On Election Night, as precincts are reporting, you will see the results being tabulated. These results will not include the Absentee by mail, Servicemen or Early Voting results. We will upload these results at the very end of the evening after all 445 precincts have been checked in.

Election results will not be official until Tuesday, April 26, when canvassing of votes is completed and after absentee ballots postmarked by midnight, April 4, and provisional and grace period ballots are counted on April 19."

The next highest vote-getter was Warren Dorris with 2, 730 votes, that number is again an unofficial result. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Joliet Job Corps Participates in the National Job Corps Oratory Competition

Participants in the Joliet Job Corps participated in the 2010 National Job Corps Oratory Competition.  Job Corps is a no-cost education and career technical training program administered by the US Department of Labor "that helps young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training. The Job Corps program is authorized by Title I-C of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998."

The Joliet Job Corps is located on the site of the former Joliet East High School, 1101 Mills Road, Joliet.
Joliet Job Corps is overseen by the Chicago Regional Office of Job Corps.  Joliet Job Corps participants live in dormitories on site and complete educational training and career training in field such as culinary arts and certified nursing assisting. 

For the 2010 Oratory Competition, Joliet Job Corps participants composed and delivered speeches responding to the prompt, "How has Job Corps impacted your life?"

Here are two Joliet Job Corps participants participating in the oratory competition:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Warehouse Workers for Justice to hold vigil in downtown Joliet on anniversary of Dr. King's assassination

The local group Warehouse Workers for Justice will commemorate the anniversary of Dr. King's assassination with a vigil in Downtown Joliet April 4, 2011.  See the Warehouse Workers for Justice press release for more details:

"Vigil planned to commemorate MLK dream on April 4
Warehouse Workers call to Revive the American Dream

FOR RELEASE ON: April 1, 2011

Press contact:  Abraham Mwaura, Warehouse Workers for Justice: 312.775.2154

On April 4th, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream: The right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life.   

In celebration of the life and dream of MLK Jr. Warehouse Workers for Justice is hosting a vigil at the Will County Courthouse calling to revive the American dream on Monday, April 4th at 12 noon.  

The vigil is part of a national day of action in support of workers rights in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states where workers rights to collective bargaining are under attack.

Who:  Local pastors from various denominations, community leaders, warehouse workers and members of Warehouse Workers for Justice.

  Prayer Vigil and call to action.

When:  Monday, April 4 at 12pm noon

Where:  Will County Courthouse, 14 W. Jefferson St. Joliet, IL "