The Chicago Journal

Chicago mayoral race debate was heated

Chicago The mayoral candidates in Chicago sparred on Thursday night in a televised debate ahead of the April 4 runoff.

This is the latest big-city mayoral election to put people’ perspectives on crime and policing to the test.

Paul Vallas accused opponent Brandon Johnson of supporting the “defund the police” movement.

Nevertheless, Johnson, a lefty, criticized Vallas’ attempts to expand police officer recruitment as slow and ineffective.

The two mayoral contenders have said that they are Democrats competing in a nonpartisan election.

They advanced to the runoff when incumbent Lori Lightfoot lost her reelection campaign after finishing third in the February 28 primary.

The candidates

Chicago is a Democratic stronghold, with 83% of residents backing President Joseph Biden in the 2020 presidential race.

Johnson and Vallas, although professing to be members of the same party, are on opposing sides of the party’s schism on police problems.

The more conservative candidate is Paul Vallas, a former public school administrator who has the backing of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.

His campaign revolves around being pro-police and tough on crime.

Vallas vowed to lower the number of municipal police officers while boosting the number of policemen stationed on CTA buses and trains.

Brandon Johnson is a progressive Cook County commissioner who has the backing of the Chicago Teachers Union.

While Johnson has periodically backed the “defund the cops” movement, he has maintained that he would not cut police spending.

Instead, he plans to boost his investments in underserved areas.

The debate

Johnson and Vallas sparred verbally at the mayoral candidate discussion on ABC 7 on Thursday.

Johnson’s prior remarks, in which he broadly favored diverting taxpayer money away from enforcement and toward community-based projects, were brought up by Vallas.

“I’m not going to defund the police, and you know that. You know that,” Johnson responded.

“I have passed multi-billion dollar budgets, over and over again.”

Brandon Johnson went on to announce that he will recruit 200 extra detectives to assist in the investigation of more serious offenses.

He also indicated that he will strive to prevent gun violence by enforcing stronger “red flag” legislation.

Red flag laws allow judges to temporarily seize firearms from those who are judged dangerous to themselves or others.

“The best way to engender confidence in public safety, you’ve got to catch people,” said Johnson.

Similarly, Paul Vallas vowed to quickly fill thousands of police posts.

He intends to station officers in communities and on public transit once the jobs are filled.

“There is no substitute for returning to community-based policing,” said Vallas.

“You can’t have confidence in the safety of public transportation when there are no police officers at the platforms and police officers at the stations.”

As violence in Chicago rose between 2020 and 2021, the mayoral election in Chicago has become increasingly focused on crime.

Shootings and killings have fallen, but other crimes have grown, according to the Chicago Police Department’s 2022 year-end report.

  • Burglaries
  • Car-jacking
  • Robberies
  • Theft

Read also: Lori Lightfoot fails to advance mayoral reelection

A turn in the race

Paul Vallas stood above the fray in the prior discussion, while Brandon Johnson went on the offensive.

Everything changed on Thursday night when Vallas launched an all-out assault in the opening few minutes of the debate, changing the race into a contender with only three debates and three candidate forums remaining.

Vallas attacked Johnson’s proposal to boost hotel and airline fuel taxes, as well as a $4-per-head corporation tax and a higher sales tax on high-end real estate.

Brandon Johnson stated that Vallas is seeking increased spending on public safety without explaining how he intends to fund it.

“You can’t run a multi-billion dollar budget off of bake sales,” he said.

Vallas then chastised Johnson’s participation in school closures.

Brandon Johnson is a teacher who has openly clashed with Lori Lightfoot on the reintroduction of in-person classes.

According to Vallas, 15 months of closures is not an investment in people.

Johnson said that Paul Vallas was making a Republican argument by condemning school closures due to the epidemic.

“That’s a part of your party,” he said.

Johnson attempted to paint Vallas as being too conservative for the blue metropolis.

Endorsement

President Joseph Biden, Illinois Senators Dick Turbin and Tammy Duckworth, and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker all declined to participate in the runoff.

Nonetheless, other national voices have endorsed Brandon Johnson, including:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Jim Clyburn

Johnson, according to Sanders, has been a champion for Chicago’s working families.

Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Chicago County Board, also supported Johnson.

But, city alderman and former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has endorsed Paul Vallas.

Image source: Fox32 Chicago

Lori Lightfoot fails to advance mayoral reelection

Lori LightfootThe city of Chicago has seen substantial transformations as its political dynamics have shifted.

Lori Lightfoot, the city’s mayor, did not place in the top two in the April runoff.

The development is the first time in over 40 years that a full-term incumbent Chicago mayor has lost reelection.

The news

Lori Lightfoot did not make the top two for the runoff on Tuesday, indicating how the political situation has evolved.

In recent years, Chicago has become the third large city to hold a mayoral election that puts public opinion to the test, notably with crime and policing.

Lori Lightfoot placed third in a nine-person municipal election field, with support from around one in every six Chicago voters.

She is the first Chicago mayor to lose reelection in 40 years.

Lightfoot’s term

Lori Lightfoot battled with police and teachers’ unions during her tenure.

At the same time, she had a chilly relationship with city councilors and Illinois’ Democratic governor, severing ties with a number of powerful friends.

Violence has escalated under Lori Lightfoot’s leadership, making voters nervous.

Chicago’s public transit system was likewise plagued by delays and service deficiencies.

While she was praised for her handling of the Coronavirus outbreak, Chicago’s economic recovery left much to be desired.

Violence in the Second City

While crime in Chicago increased in 2020 and 2021, Lightfoot’s performance highlighted her focus on public safety.

Shootings and homicides have fallen, according to the Chicago Police Department’s 2022 year-end report.

Nevertheless, additional crimes began to become an issue, such as:

  • Burglaries
  • Car-jacking
  • Robberies

Changes

The mayoral election has focused on crime and public safety, demonstrating that voter opinions have shifted.

Lori Lightfoot campaigned as a police reformer four years ago, promising to alter how cops are supervised and penalized.

In 2019, she came in first place in a crowded mayoral race, garnering 17.5% of the vote.

“We can and will remake Chicago,” Lightfoot vowed.

Despite the mayor’s first-round victory in 2019, it would subsequently play a factor in the mayor’s future troubles.

Lori Lightfoot was elected to a position considered a “political lightning rod” because she lacked a steady support base.

Throughout the campaigns, her toughness was a key selling factor, but it lost her supporters.

Read also: East Palestine is GOP’s next investigation

Clashes

Lori Lightfoot disagreed with teacher and police unions prior to (and during) the pandemic, which cost her the election in 2023 because the groups favored competitors.

A dispute with the Chicago Teachers Union in 2019 over compensation and class size resulted in an 11-day walkout as she attempted to cut expenditures.

They fought again in 2022, when Lightfoot attempted to get instructors to return to the classrooms in the face of mounting Covid cases.

The union backed Brandon Johnson, who was previously unknown outside of the Chicago County commission area, in the fall.

“Chicago is ready to break with the politics of the past that ignore the needs of our students, their families, and school communities,” said Stacy Davis Gates, the union president.

Lori Lightfoot also alienated police last year during a spat over overtime pay in a department struggling to attract and retain officers.

Lightfoot contended the cops had more than ample vacation time.

The fight was one of the worst in the administration’s years-long feud with the police as she fought to cut on overtime spending.

Paul Vallas was sponsored by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.

Vallas has previously served as a school superintendent in the following areas:

  • Chicago
  • Philadelphia
  • New Orleans
  • Bridgeport
  • Connecticut

He also aired a pro-police ad, referencing cops in his family.

Conservative voters were drawn in by Vallas’ tough-on-crime campaign.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown announced his departure this month on Wednesday, giving the next mayor the opportunity to bring in fresh leadership to the department.

A focus on crime

The political winds in Chicago are similar to those in New York, where former police captain Mayor Eric Adams was elected in 2021.

Last year, former Rep. Karen Bass defeated Richard Caruso, a millionaire developer who spent millions on a law-and-order campaign.

Bass won by proposing more police officers and declaring a state of emergency to handle the homelessness epidemic.

Although their comparable messages, Vallas and Adams vary in that Vallas is White and Adams is Black.

Vallas and Johnson gained more support from Chicago’s predominately White north side.

Lori Lightfoot, on the other hand, enjoyed backing from Black communities in the south and west.

The two outcomes highlight the significance of the runoff, which will be a struggle to gain the support of Black voters.

Johnson showed hints of uniting liberals who backed other names in the nine-person field, naming each contender individually.

“If you voted for one of those other candidates, I want you to know that I’m running to be the mayor of you, too,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vallas tweeted that he is running to be a mayor for all of Chicago because “public safety is a human right and people in every neighborhood deserve to feel safe.”

Image source: Aljazeera

SamBoat Sets Sail in Chicago

If you’ve ever gazed at the sails and motorboats on Lake Michigan and wished to be on the glittering water yourself, there’s good news — chartered yacht rentals are now available in Chicago through SamBoat.

“SamBoat’s first boats in Chicago have just been uploaded to the website,” says Robert Harrington, the company’s US Country Manager. “We’ve launched our fleet in Chicago several months ahead of the warmer summer season so people can start planning and reserving their yachts well ahead of time. You can now book for the summer holidays (Juneteenth, July 4th or Labor Day), as well as the events you have coming up this summer, such as weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.”

SamBoat enables ordinary people to rent their own boats through a simple and secure online platform. “The idea is new and is based upon the sharing economy we’ve seen explode over the past half a decade,” Harrington says. “Renting a boat has never been easier. It’s now just as easy as booking yourself an Uber or Lyft. It’s very much like Airbnb, except instead of renting a home, you would be renting a boat or yacht.”

How SamBoat works

SamBoat rentals are located along Chicago’s shoreline of Lake Michigan at a variety of different yacht clubs and berths. Rentals can last anywhere from a couple of hours or days to even weeks or months. For those who don’t know how to skipper a yacht themselves, many listings include the possibility of hiring a crew.

The website is a simple, easy-to-use interface. Just specify your port of embarkation and the dates for your trip, as well as the kind of boat you are interested in: motor or sailboat. Click on “Search,” and a list of appropriate options will appear. Photographs of the sleek hulls immediately deliver a thrill — which yacht can you see yourself driving over the waves or sunbathing on?

The website also allows you to choose the order in which listings appear. One option gives you recommended boats first, while another shows you the options from least to most expensive. It’s also possible to sort the listings by previous customers’ highest average rating.

Once you click on a particular listing, that boat’s web page comes up with more details, such as its length, year of manufacture, and horsepower. More photographs will pop up, and some will even show you the yacht’s interior, as well as the staterooms or cockpit. Each listing has a clear description of the boat’s additional features, such as Bluetooth audio, kitchen, wet bar, or sun pad.

The service also opens up opportunities for those who own yachts. “Boat owners can make money by offering their boats for rent through our platform,” Harrington says. “This can help offset costs while you’re not utilizing the boat yourself. Otherwise, you can turn your boat into a full-time money-making operation.”

Chicagoans would rightly feel lucky to have such possibilities at their fingertips. Harrington feels the same way about Chicago.

Why Chicago is the perfect fit

“Chicago is a great place to get out on the water, especially during the warmer months,” Harrington says. “It’s not only one of the largest cities in the country, but also one of the hotbeds for tech startups. While SamBoat is based in Bordeaux, France, we needed to have a presence in such a large, dynamic, influential American city.”

No other operator offers the ease, reliability, and affordability that SamBoat brings to this market. “The alternatives haven’t always lived up to Chicagoans’ expectations in terms of customer service and price,” Harrington explains. “We’re excited to finally offer a solution that will live up to expectations.”

According to Harrington, SamBoat is better than the other options in Chicago for several reasons. “We have flexible payment options and payment plans,” he says. “There’s no need to shell out the full amount of your yacht charter months in advance. We are also happy to come up with a personalized plan for you.”

He also referenced SamBoat’s fantastic selection. “You’re bound to find the perfect yacht for your day on the water, whether it’s a 30-footer or a 70-footer,” he says. “There’s no need to browse for hours looking through different websites.” SamBoat’s flexible cancellation policies ensure stress-free booking.

SamBoat is also less expensive than other boat booking websites. “For the same exact boats,” Harrington observes. “Why pay more for the same experience? Keep that extra money for a few bottles of champagne while on your yacht charter.”

Other places SamBoat operates in the US

According to Harrington, SamBoat is available in basically all the large coastal US cities, from California to Florida and up to New England. “We’ve especially seen rapid growth in South Florida at ports like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach,” he notes. “The company is growing at a rapid pace; we’ve recently added Mexico and the Caribbean with a particular focus on the beautiful resort cities of Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun.”

Nothing compares to the serenity and satisfaction of blue mind. That unparalleled experience is what SamBoat is bringing to Chicago and other ports throughout the US.

“Above all, we’re always trying to share our love of the water as broadly as possible,” Harrington says. “At the end of the day, some of your very best memories will be time spent on the water. We’re excited to help people create those memories.”

Shooting outside Chicago hospital last weekend

Image source: WGN-TV

Shooting: On Sunday, a judge ordered no bail for a man who shot and killed another outside Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

What happened

The shooting took place in the southwestern suburb of Oak Lawn, Illinois, early Saturday morning.

Prosecutors said on Sunday that Marques Rose, 36, shot and killed a man around two in the morning.

The shooting happened outside the emergency room.

Additionally, prosecutors revealed that Rose was out on bond for another case.

He currently has five felony convictions, including charges of firearms and burglary.

Read also: Shooting in LGBTQ nightclub results in five dead

Before the incident

According to prosecutors, Marques Rose and the victim were at 87th and Vincennes for an evening gathering.

After two people were shot in the area, a large group followed one of the victims to the Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Rose and 28-year-old Brandon McGee, the victim, were members of the group.

Hospital security called the police when the large group arrived on the scene.

The shooting

According to prosecutors, Rose and McGee got into a heated argument.

McGee reportedly pushed Rose to the ground, and people pulled the two apart to cool off.

After some time, Rose returned and shot McGee in the head, killing him instantly.

Rose tried to flee the scene, but the police were already there.

However, they tracked him down and found the weapon under a nearby car.

Prosecutors said surveillance footage and testimony caught the entire event.

Read also: Highland Park mass shooting victims and families file massive lawsuits

The aftermath

The judge refused to order bail for Marques Rose.

They explained that despite the victim pushing Rose to the ground, people separated them to cool off.

The judge also said that a push and a gun are not equal in terms of force.

The gunman, Marques Rose, is due to appear in court on Monday for breaching his bond.

Reference:

No bail for man accused of shooting another in head outside Advocate Christ Medical Center

The Phantom of the Opera to close its doors next year

Image source: Headout

The Phantom of the Opera is one of Broadway’s most popular shows and has established itself as one of its longest-running musicals.

Despite being a prominent title on Broadway, the musical was initially set to close the curtains for good.

However, the musical decided to listen to the audience and postpone the final show.

The announcement

The Phantom of the Opera recently postponed its last performance by more than eight weeks.

The change means that the last show will occur between February and April next year, following an increase in ticket demand.

Last week, The Phantom of the Opera grossed $2.2 million to a sold-out audience.

Longevity

The Phantom of the Opera has been a Broadway fixture for more than three decades.

It first opened its doors to the public in 1988.

Since then, the musical has outlasted recessions, wars, and cultural shifts.

The Phantom of the Opera will play its last Broadway show on April 16.

By the time it closes, The Phantom of the Opera will have played more than 13,981 shows.

Read also: Mariah Carey allegedly lip-synced on Thanksgiving

Statements

Cameron Mackintosh, the lead producer of The Phantom of the Opera, released a statement about the postponement.

“We are all thrilled that not only the show’s wonderful fans have been snapping up the remaining tickets, but also that a new, younger audience is equally eager to see this legendary production before it disappears.”

The producers have since confirmed that there will be no further delays.

“This is the only possible extension for the Broadway champion,” they said.

“As the theater will then be closed for major renovations after the show’s incredible 35-year run.”

The musical

The Phantom of the Opera is based on the classic novel by Gaston Leroux.

It tells the story of a deformed composer who haunts the Paris Opera but falls in love with Christine, an innocent young soprano.

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical includes well-known songs such as “Masquerade,” “Angel of Music,” “All I Ask of You,” and “The Music of the Night.”

The Phantom of the Opera’s final show means the series’ longest-running title would go to Chicago, a musical that debuted in 1996.

Next is The Lion King, which premiered a year after Chicago.

Read also: Simu Liu rips Quentin Tarantino on Twitter

Pandemic

Broadway has been one of the businesses greatly affected by the pandemic, with all theaters closed for more than 18 months.

Popular shows like ‘Hamilton,’ ‘The Lion King,’ and ‘Wicked’ have managed to bounce back.

However, other shows have had problems.

An expensive show like Phantom of the Opera requires a steady stream of tourists to break even.

While there were more tourists, visitors to New York have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Reference:

‘The Phantom of the Opera’ extends its long Broadway goodbye

Lurie Children’s Hospital dispute over unionization

Image source: Lurie Children’s Careers

Lurie Children’s Hospital is one of the best hospitals in Chicago, but there has been a dispute between nurses and management.

Nurses from Lurie are at odds with management after receiving what they describe as anti-union messages.

The news

Leaders of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago recently told nurses forming a union was unnecessary.

Leaders sent a letter signed by the hospital’s head nurse and assistant head nurse.

According to the letter, nurses do not need a union to speak on their behalf.

In addition, the administration is concerned about the impact of a union on the work culture.

Management sent the letter earlier this month.

The last few years have been some of the busiest at Lurie Children’s Hospital as the pandemic has taken a toll and tested the healthcare system.

Among the challenges the hospital face were:

  • Staffing shortage
  • Higher-than-normal patient-to-nurse ratios
  • Burnout

Read also: A New Approach to Medical Education with Integrated Learning – Maheshwara Medical College & Hospital, Hyderabad

Reception

A Lurie nurse spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times and requested anonymity.

They worked at the hospital for nearly two decades, over 16 years.

“You feel as if you’re a bad nurse because you are limited in the time you can spend with each of your patients,” said the nurse.

“Lurie nurses strive to give the best care we can give, and that really hits us at our heart when we feel like we can’t give that.”

The hospital’s response

Meanwhile, Lurie Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Julianne Bardele said the hospital respects workers’ organization rights.

However, she noted that unionization could significantly impact the work environment.

“Like most pediatric healthcare organizations, Lurie Children’s has faced challenges that have made nursing harder,” said Bardele.

“But we remain committed to working directly with our workforce to address concerns and to continue to foster a culture built on mutual respect and shared dedication to providing a healthier future for every child.”

Read also: L’Oreal struck with lawsuit regarding uterine cancer

Directors

Executives and directors of Lurie Children’s Hospital ignored concerns nurses tried to discuss issues relating to staffing and improving working conditions.

“Every month, we will sit down and go through issues,” said another Lurie nurse of six years.

“I brought up some issues that I was concerned about, and my director was… I wouldn’t say yelling, but she got very short with me.”

According to the nurses, they felt discouraged and even threatened by management when they received the letter.

They also said they wanted the letter to at least add some compromises.

Lurie’s experienced nurse elaborated and said:

“[Some of the phrases used in the letter] really made us feel little because many of us have spoken and continue to speak and have gone those routes and avenues that they talked about in that letter, and then it’s crickets afterward.”

Reference:

Lurie Children’s Hospital nurses at odds with management over potential to unionize

Rahmaan Statik brings Wakanda to Chicago with mural

Image source: ABC7

Rahmaan Statik is a Chicago-born muralist and street artist who has made a name for himself with his vibrant art style in the graffiti scene.

While he is already an established artist, Statik’s latest work is turning heads online.

Statik

Rahmaan Statik grew up around street art and public murals in Chicago’s South Side.

He was inspired to delve in street arts early, which later led to an arrest for vandalism.

The event would end up instilling in him a mission to legitimize the production of aerosol murals in the art scene in Chicago.

From then on, Rahmaan Statik devoted his art to public murals, combining graffiti with the classical training he received at the American Academy of Art.

Read also: Rihanna returns to appease fans with a song for Wakanda Forever

The mural

Last week, Statik painted a mural dedicated to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

Additionally, his latest work comes full circle, having been born near the mural site.

“I’m a comic book fanboy,” said Statik.

“Before I was doing murals, I wanted to be a comic book artist. I wanted to work for Marvel.”

In the Rahmaan Statik mural, M’Baku, Okoye, and Shuri are standing in front of a glowing, vibrant Wakanda.

Additionally, his mural is on the corner of 61st Street and Champlain Avenue in Woodlawn.

In addition, the neighborhood is a predominantly African-American community.

Statik hopes his mural will empower the people of Woodlawn.

Read also: ArtTour International Presents the Artist of the Year Award to Philip Noyed

Behind the mural

Rahmaan Statik highlights his artistic style on the mural and indicates the liveliness that befits his usual works.

“You can tell this is mine because of the color palette,” he said.

“Cyan, magenta, yellow. That way, it’s vibrant, even on a gray day.”

Additionally, the artist revealed his goal of inspiring others with his mural, saying:

“People want to see images that look like them, that are empowered and not alienated. And everyone deserves that – everyone deserves their own Mount Rushmore.”

In addition, Rahmaan Statik shared more about his work and discussed his hopes of inspiring the community to reach its highest potential.

“The main function, though, as far as why I’m going hard on this, in this area, is to bring museum standard painting to the streets,” said the artist.

“Maybe a whole neighborhood of kids will see this and be inspired.”

Reference:

Artist brightens up Chicago with ‘Wakanda Forever’ mural

Scott Lennox, Chicago resident, threatens Republican candidate

Image source: CWB Chicago

Scott Lennox, a 21-year-old Chicago resident, sent violent threats to the Republican candidate for governor of Illinois, Senator Darren Bailey.

The Chicago resident allegedly called Bailey’s office last Friday.

According to the Cook County Attorney’s Office, Lennox left him a lengthy audio message.

The threats

According to a bond proposal from the prosecutor’s office, Scott Lennox left a string of violent threats via voicemail.

“I’m going to skin Darren Bailey alive, making sure he is still alive … and screaming in ******* pain,” Lennox allegedly said.

“I know where he lives, I know where he sleeps, I know where his kids sleep.”

“Yeah, that’s right, so he better kill himself, and if he doesn’t, I am going to kill him,” the voicemail concluded.

The transcript comes from a document filed in the Cook County Circuit Court.

Read also: J. Michael Luttig joins the battle against Trump’s attempt to overturn elections

Tracing the calls

The voicemails trace back to Scott Lennox through caller ID.

Additionally, the Illinois Secretary of State interviewed Lennox.

According to court documents, he admits to the calls and reads:

“The Illinois Secretary of State Police deemed (Lennox) was not a credible threat and did not arrest (Lennox) or transport him to any location for further questioning.”

The case was referred to the Illinois State Police, who arrested Lennox after questioning and examining his phone.

Charges

Scott Lennox appeared in court on Wednesday to face charges of crimes including:

  • Threatening a public official
  • Harassment by electronic communications
  • Telephone harassment.

However, he was given a $ 75,000 bail with electronic surveillance.

Additionally, Lennox must stay away from Bailey, his family and associates.

Finally, Scott Lennox is not allowed to post threatening messages online.

Read also: Biden travels to Oregon, voices support for Kotek and warns of Biden’s influence

Bailey

Senator Darren Bailey released a written statement from his campaign to address the situation.

“Divisive, inflammatory, and misleading rhetoric is driving hatred across our state as some attempt to label political opponents as dangerous threats.”

“Whether we agree or disagree on policies, we are all Americans,” he continued.

“I pray this young man gets the help he needs.”

Incumbent Democratic Governor JB Pritzker echoed Bailey’s sentiments despite being his opponent.

“The violent rhetoric and division we’re seeing across our country is unacceptable,” he tweeted.

“Hatred in any form has no home in Illinois.”

In addition to being a senator, Darren Bailey is the co-founder and former president of a private Christian school.

Before that, he was the local school board president for the Clay County Public School District.

Schools linked to Bailey are under soft lockdown, prosecutors say.

Reference:

Chicago man accused of leaving voicemail with death threats at office of Republican candidate for governor

Starbucks shop in Chicago set for closure towards the end of the month

Image source: Eater Chicago

Although 2022 has seen waves of union efforts in businesses, a unionized Starbucks Edgewater store in Chicago will close in two weeks.

It was among the first stores in the United States to join a union.

The coffee giant announced plans to close its Chicago North Side branch the day before Halloween.

The announcement

According to management, the store closes on October 30, a Sunday.

The workers said the closure would come four days before the start of the negotiation process for their first union contract.

However, a Starbucks representative denied the allegation, saying the decision to close was due to unspecified safety concerns for employees and customers.

The Chicago coffeehouse was among the first to win the May union elections, with a 10 to 1 vote.

Retaliation and suspicions

Despite their statements, Workers United employees and organizers suspect October 26 is involved with the closure.

Workers United is a subsidiary of the Service Employees International Union.

Several employees said the closure was retaliation for their successful union campaign.

The company moved employees to other stores with little detail on travel times and costs.

Workers United argues that the closure is part of the company’s tactics.

Starbucks has already closed ten locations where union organizations have taken place.

The group filed a lawsuit against unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Nationwide closure

Workers United argues that the closure of unionized cafes violates the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

The law is a fundamental statute of labor law guaranteeing workers the right to form trade unions to bargain collectively.

In March, the NLRB learned that an acclaimed Chicago bakery, Lost Larson, ignored the statute and illegally fired an employee.

The employee tried to organize a union in her workplace.

The agreement between the two parties provided that management would not acquit or interfere with employees’ rights to raise concerns and complaints regarding the following:

  • Safety
  • Wages
  • Communications
  • Training
  • Other terms/conditions of employment on their behalf or the behalf of others

The challenge of proving retaliations

While some cases can be proven, other cases of retaliation may be challenging to prove.

In 2020, several fired Wisconsin-based Colectivo Coffee chain employees filed a lawsuit against the chain.

Colectivo Coffee also has five locations in the Chicago area

They said their termination was retaliation for their involvement in the organizing committee of the Colectivo union.

The NLRB found the allegations to be unfounded.

By 2021, however, the pro-workers of Colectivo had the upper hand, forming the largest unionized workforce in a U.S. coffee chain.

Reference:

Starbucks workers claim Chicago shop’s closure is union retaliation

The Importance of Digitizing Documents in Today’s World

Society is changing, and so is our environment and the reality that we live in. All of these elements are part of the reasons why digitizing documents in 2022 should be something that everybody does in order to protect themselves, their family, their business and their belongings. As we will show below, modernizing the way we handle our paper trail is of utmost importance to each of us but also to society as a whole. 

Saving Document on PDF Smart: Great Protection in Case of Natural Disasters

It has been a long time since we have been taking from the earth. Most importantly, we have been a major pollution factor, filling our oceans, our lands, and even the air with chemicals. Scientists warned us that we would find ourselves with natural issues in the future if we did not change the way we consume. The ozone layer disappearing was a major warning in itself. Still, we continued almost as if everything was perfectly fine. And now, we have to face the backlash of extremely warm weather causing forest fires and raising the level of other natural disasters, such as hurricanes, thanks to warmer temperatures of water.

When one of those happens where we live, we can end up losing everything we have in the house or at the office. That is the first reason why we need to transfer our paper documents into a digitized version. The best way is to scan them and save them in a PDF format. That includes our legal identity documents, such as our birth certificate, ID card and passport, as well as pictures and receipts of our belongings, so that we can easily make a claim to our insurance company. By placing these documents on a PDF file, you can easily modify them as you acquire new objects simply by using a PDF editor. If you need to add text documents, PDF Smart will enable you to make a format change, and you can do file modifications whenever you need to in the future to keep everything up-to-date.

Digitizing Documents makes Work Easier for Everyone

It is surprising how much paperwork still exists in the world of business. Contracts that are still in physical forms, when you can actually sign them digitally, these days, totally legally. The problem is that paper takes up a lot of space, which the company needs to pay for uselessly. If you digitize all the documents that you have on file, not only will you save on rental space, but you will also make it much more secure this way. That is because you can protect your documents through a variety of ways once they are scanned by keeping them locked away from those who would like to spy on you.

Once documents are digitized, you can have access to them through a click of a mouse. That is definitely a whole lot faster than having to go through a filing cabinet. Especially when the file hasn’t been stored in the right place, and you need to go through a bunch of them before you finally get your hands on it. It also makes it easier to share the file with all the departments. By having the PDF documents on the server, everyone can pick it up, modify the document with PDF Smart and save it again where it belongs in a matter of seconds. We are, indeed, a long way away from the time when you had to pay an employee just to gather up the paper files.

It also helps in case the company ever gets audited. Whereas before, the persons having to do the audit had to go through all the cabinets in order to find what they were looking for, spending a lot of time inside your office and disturbing the work of employees, now you can just give them access to the digitized files. You can even do so from afar by giving them access to your servers or by opening a door for them on The Cloud service that you use to store these documents.

It is obvious that transferring all of our documents, whether personal or related to our business, into PDF files, will make our life better in so many ways. And it will be much easier to modify them, thanks to PDF Smart.