A labor relations case study, another city employee vaccine mandate and our first Public Newsroom of the year
and a new Netflix show recommendation
Wow! It’s November already. We hope you enjoyed your Halloween weekend, however you spent it, and are ready for a great month. As always, it’s your newsletter team — Claire, Elly, Kate, Eiman, Ally, Grace V., Cam and Grace DV. — back with more news to start your week.
Before we get into it, tonight, 14 East hosted our first Public Newsroom of the year with special guest photographer Isaiah Easter. We discussed the ins and outs of his photography and how he uses it to not just tell stories but connect with the communities around him.
Missed it? Watch the recording on 14 East’s YouTube Channel, where we’ve uploaded many other Public Newsrooms as well, here.
Chartwells: A Case Study in Labor Relations
By Elly Boes
Dining workers at DePaul and Northwestern University recently guaranteed better wages through a new contract agreement with their employer, Compass Group USA. However, their union UNITE HERE Local 1 is still fighting labor issues across the city.
Over the weekend, Local 1 rallied support over Twitter for the three banquet servers who are suing their workplace, Swissotel, for allegedly violating Chicago’s “Hotel Worker Right to Return to Work” ordinance.
In June, Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed the legislation compromising with union leaders to account for seniority — within their respective positions — when rehiring hotel workers who were laid-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the constantly evolving landscape of pandemic regulations, now is a crucial time to understand the legal protections for workers, such as the National Labor Relations Act.
Originally enacted in 1935, the federal law protects workers’ rights to organize into unions, collectively bargain for new contracts and established the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The federal board handles unfair labor practice complaints, or those that potentially violate the National Labor Relations Act.
While reporting on university dining hall employees, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to request the October 5 complaint in which Local 1 representatives alleged coercive tactics were used to ban workers from picketing on Northwestern property over the summer.
The complaint was withdrawn October 19 under the National Labor Relations Act which allows union members to avoid an investigation or potential settlement once a new contract is ratified.
According to a forwarded September 22 email from Northwestern’s Vice President for Operations Luke Figora to Local 1 representatives, “Earlier this year in June, Unite Here Local 1 and several Compass employees represented by Local 1 engaged in unauthorized, on-campus picketing, which caused a significant disruption to University operations (including, but not limited to, interfering with students taking final exams).”
Under NLRB precedents in a 2019 court case and the Illinois Constitution, picketing and protests are not protected on private property but can be conducted on public areas such as streets and city sidewalks.
“Now that students have returned for the fall term and are resuming their studies in earnest,” Figora wrote, “We wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to make clear that [Northwestern] University prohibits any unauthorized on-campus picketing and/or demonstrations.”
While reporting on DePaul Chartwells workers, I noticed this in effect during a student button-up event supported by Local 1 and members of DePaul Community Accountability Alliance (DPUCAA).
The security guard outside of DePaul’s Lincoln Park Student Center told Executive Vice President of UNITE HERE Local 1 Lou Weeks and DPUCAA student supporters to stand behind the line marking private property, just past the statue of Monsignor John Egan.
According to students I spoke with, the security guard would not allow them to place union materials — such as buttons and informational flyers — under the Student Center’s roofline to protect from the October 7 downpour.
For more information on legal protections for workers, visit NLRB’s frequently asked questions page here.
By Kate Linderman
Changes in DePaul Housing Policy
Effective November 5, DePaul Housing will allow residents to welcome 1 to 2 fully vaccinated, pre-registered parents and guardians or 1 to 2 fully vaccinated DePaul students into their on-campus dorm or apartment.
Since the beginning of the quarter, DePaul Housing has reevaluated its visitor policy every two weeks. Previously, DePaul students were not allowed to be checked in as visitors, only fully vaccinated, pre-registered parents and guardians. The next policy update will be released on November 15.
Read more about the housing policy in the DePaulia.
Here is your weekend sports recap (October 30 to 31):
The men’s soccer team lost 2-0 to St. John’s on Saturday
Women’s volleyball lost 3-0 to Creighton on Saturday
The women’s tennis team competed in the Louisville Classic last weekend to close out their fall tournament season. They will compete again beginning January 15.
By Eiman Navaid
City Vaccine Mandate Update — Chicago’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for police officers has been paused by a Cook County judge. This comes after a continuing battle between the Fraternal Order of Police and Mayor Lightfoot. Parts of the mandate must still be followed, including getting regularly tested, however, officers cannot face disciplinary action before the December 31 deadline. Kelly Bauer and Justin Laurence of Block Club Chicago have the details.
Chicago Police Sergeant Charged — Oneta Sampson Carney was loading groceries with her husband into her car on Saturday evening, outside of Sam's Club on Western Ave. When three people used a ruse in an attempt to steal it, she fired at least one gunshot at her vehicle. Carney has been charged and her bail is set at $5,000. Sylvia Goodman of the Tribune.
Mass Shooting at Joliet Halloween Party — More than 12 people were wounded and two killed at a Halloween party of more than 200 people on Sunday in Joliet Township, where police had been called three times prior to the shooting with noise complaints. Tom Schuba, Madeline Kenney, and David Stuett of the Sun-Times have the details.
Chicago Blackhawks Coach Allegations — Former Blackhawks player Kyle Beach recently revealed that he was the player who filed a negligence lawsuit against the organization regarding his 2010 sexual misconduct complaint against Bradley Aldrich, the video coach at the time. Aldrich now has multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him, and the Blackhawks are faced with multiple lawsuits. Christy Gutowski and Phil Thompson of the Tribune have the details.
Illinois’ State Report Card Released — The release of the state report card shows an increase in absences and lower test scores within the past year. Sneha Dey of the Sun Times reports.
Reports of More People Drugged Northwestern University — Several people were recently drugged without their consent at off-campus gatherings in Evanston, according to University police. This comes after the suspension of fraternity-related activities due to reports of people being drugged on-campus, within residences. David Struett of the Sun-Times reports.
By Ally Daskalopoulos
The Trial of Kyle Rittenhouse — The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, will begin this week. Rittenhouse is charged with six criminal counts including first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide and first degree attempted intentional homicide. Rittenhouse shot two men and wounded another during the Kenosha, WI protests of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Julie Bosman of the New York Times has the details.
A Close Virginia Governor Race — Former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe and Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin are fiercely tied for the race to be Governor of Virginia. Republicans haven’t won a statewide race since 2009 in the former swing state, yet Biden won by a 10-point victory in Virginia. Aaron Zitner and Chad Day of the Wall Street Journal have the story.
Supreme Court Questions Texas Abortion Law — Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett raised concerns Monday about the implications of the Texas law restricting abortions. Kavanaugh was concerned with how the law would impact other constitutional rights, while Barrett focused her reservations on a provision that limits legal arguments made by abortion facilitators if they are sued under the law. Josh Gerstein and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico have the full story.
Hey, Check This Out!
With Featured Columnist Emily Soto
Hi everyone, and welcome back to your recs. This week, I want to talk about Netflix’s MAID. The show has been out for one month and has already earned a spot on Netflix’s ‘Top 10 in the U.S. Today’ list, as well as numerous ratings and reviews. For those who have not yet seen it, MAID takes you on the journey of a young woman, Alex, who is escaping an abusive relationship and her struggle to break the cycle of abuse that had plagued her family. She battles homelessness and poverty as well as figuring out how to care for her two-year-old daughter.
This journey is not an easy one. Mistakes are made, traumatic memories resurface, and self doubt and insecurity take over. So if you’re someone like me, who has been fortunate enough to have a supportive family or people who helped you build confidence in yourself, it can become hard to watch Alex fail to make what would seem like the sensible choice time and time again.
But if you decide to watch it, I encourage you to put those feelings aside.
Watch it, and keep in mind the worldview of someone that hasn’t experienced stability in their life — but doesn’t even realize it. So many times throughout the series, Alex notices the struggles of other people, tries to offer help or advice, yet fails to see those exact same moments in her own life. She devalues herself and her own struggles as a result of the instability in her early life.
But above all, I recommend you don’t forget that this is someone else’s story. As a viewer, we may want to try and find flaws or ways to improve it, but the truth is that the story is not ours and no two stories are alike. MAID is based on someone’s real life and this show is simply the way that they chose to portray it. It digs deep into what it was really like for someone to face abuse and feel like they have no one to turn to. This is what makes MAID so important to watch.
The Illinois Housing Development Authority periodically offers rental payment programs which send vouchers directly to landlords to subsidize rent costs. The program is currently closed to new applicants. However, housing stability service providers are offered year-round. Check out the resources here.
The city of Chicago’s Rental Assistance Program provides funding for Chicagoans who are at risk of becoming homeless.
Rentervention is a legal-aid bot that can answer questions, draft letters and explain tenant rights. See how it can help you here.
Cook County also provides rental assistance for renters. See if you qualify and for how much here.
COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Resources
All of these testing sites and vaccination sites can be accessed for free and without insurance.
Howard Brown offers free, walk-in COVID-19 viral and antibody testing at multiple locations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, in addition to mobile testing sites that are updated weekly. The organization also offers the Moderna vaccine for individuals 18 and older. You can check all of their current COVID-19 resources here.
The Illinois Department of Public Health and the city of Chicago offer free COVID-19 testing sites in the city and surrounding counties, which are listed with more information here. IDPH also offers COVID-19 vaccines to all residents 12 years and older. Call 833-621-1284 to schedule an appointment.
The city of Chicago partnered with the Community Organized Relief Effort to set up free drive-thru and walk-in testing sites in the city, primarily on the South and West sides, with appointments available Monday through Friday. Register here.
The city has also updated its COVID-19 testing program with more mobile sites, which change weekly. More info here.
Know someone 12 years of age or older who has yet to receive their COVID-19 vaccine? Check out appointments via Zocdoc, the city of Chicago’s Vaccine Finder or pharmacy websites such as Walgreens and CVS.
Mental Health Resources
At Open Counseling, there’s a list of people and nonprofits with counseling services available for free or low cost.
This website compiles mental health resources, including therapist directories and other online resources.
The Center on Halsted offers behavioral health, anti-violence and educational resources for LGBTQ+ people.
Howard Brown Health offers anti-racism resources and sliding scale counseling specializing in the LGBTQ+ community.
This document is a resource for Black people experiencing racial trauma. The master list includes specific resources as well as protesting tips and donation links.
This link is a directory of Black therapists in Chicago who provide services for under $75.
The Trans Lifeline’s peer support hotline is a resource operated by transgender and nonbinary staffers for the trans community: 877-565-8860.
The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy in Chicago is a nonprofit that provides affordable, sliding-scale counseling. Call 312-263-4368, ext. 9081 to schedule an intake appointment (counseling is not religious-centered).
Well, that’s today’s rundown! We hope you have a great week (and month) ahead of you. Until next time, take care!
The 14 East Newsletter Team