Workers across industries are organizing and unionizing in Chicago, demanding better wages, health insurance, safety in the workplace and more.
“It doesn’t necessarily give you the right to work. It actually restricts people. Here in Illinois, we don’t do that,” Alcala said. Illinois workers are attempting to pass the Workers’ Rights Amendment to protect their right to organize, and to bargain collectively.
“Chicago is the hometown of the American labor movement. We have so much labor history here, that is the bedrock of a lot of our organizing,” said Don Villar, secretary-treasurer for the Chicago Federation of Labor.
From the Haymarket Affair to the Pullman strike, and Little Steel strikes, the city is the birthplace of the eight-hour workday and Labor Day.
More than a century later, labor organizing continues at companies like Amazon, Lyft, Uber, and Starbucks. Many of the current movements are led by young organizers, and often people of color.
Lenny Sanchez, a former gig worker on apps who is now an organizer for Justice for App Workers believes that unionization is the best way forward, “The only way that we are going to get anywhere is if we’re all unified fighting together for what we deserve.”