Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Not Ready For Labor Ready

Are you concerned about Labor Ready opening a day-labor office in Uptown? Here's who to contact:

Alderman Helen Shiller -

Alderman Mary Ann Smith -

State Rep. Greg Harris - (Brian is gathering information from residents)

The zoning hearing is on February 15th, so be sure to send your emails in advance of the hearing.

Want more information on Labor Ready? Check out this website.


  1. Maybe I didn't see it on the Website but I would like to know who is actually behind this to stop Labor Ready as I am undecided and not sure it will have an adverse affect on the community.

    As long as it follows all United States Laws.

    Frankly, I would rather support day labor than the homeless people begging for money.

    A honest day's pay for an honest day's work.

    R. Ryan
    4700 North

  2. Show up at the zoning hearing an introduce yourself.

  3. Let's not try to bait everyone into a discussion of cures for homelessness and merits/nonmerits of begging versus accessing shelter services.

    This post is about zoning issues.
    Let's stay focused for a change.

  4. I don't think a day labor office is a bad idea for the 46th ward, but that close to a boys & girls club and an elementary school is a terrible idea.

    Maybe there's space near Shiller's office in the McJunkin Building...?

  5. How about space near Shiller's home?

  6. I agree that the real issue is whether or not it is appropriate to seek a zoning variance to place Labor Ready at this particular spot. Given the already depressed retail in the area and its proposed location near two facilities for children, there is good reason to question if this is the best site for this business. If all the social services in this area were excellent neighbors and were able to successfully curtail the public drinking, urination, and drug use of their clients, people might be persuaded to think differently, but that's not the reality of those who live in the area, me included. If you look at various websites that track and trend crime, you will notice that the crime on the 4700 & 4800 block of N. Sheridan is disproportionately higher.

    At a meeting last week with residents and Labor Ready, not one resident who attended was in favor of this business at the proposed location. It should also be of concern to Ald. Shiller that all the block clubs in the area along with Uptown United stand opposed to a change in zoning for this site.

    The many Uptown residents I know want to make sure homeless people have the resources they need to better their lives. It's fair to say that there are many resources already present in this one small area to assist the homeless in this endeavor. For those who believe more resources are still needed, then it's fair to ask this question, "What criteria will they use to decide when there are finally enough resources for the homeless in this 3 block area?" I don't think advocates that want Labor Ready at this proposed site have the answer to this question.

  7. There is a one-stop career center/Chicago workforce center run by the City at 4740 N. Sheridan. That is one block south of the proposed Labor Ready site.

    If people are not getting what they need there---after we as taxpayers have already invested in this service---the answer is NOT to just put a for-profit alternative up the street to possibly hurt schools, parks and local retail.

    Its lazy & bad public policy forced on people through zoning shenanigans. Shiller should realize that if there is a problem---you fix it. You don't just move it around and hope for the best.

  8. To anonymous who said, "As long as it follows United States Laws."

    I found an article about Labor Ready's practices that indicate they may be breaking a number of U.S. Laws. A few things to note:

    - Nearly two dozen states are investigating whether Labor Ready has shortchanged taxpayers by underpaying premiums to state insurance funds that compensate injured workers
    - The US Department of Labor have repeatedly fined the company for breaking minimum-wage laws and illegally charging workers for gloves, goggles, and other essential safety gear.
    - Company records obtained by federal investigators show that hundreds of workers have been shortchanged on their paychecks.
    - Last March, the company was hit with a $734,000 bill from Washington state for underpaying premiums to the state-run workers' comp system. Labor Ready already owed $383,000 alone for misclassifying construction laborers as grounds maintenance workers. The charges, under appeal by Labor Ready, are just for 1998; state auditors are now investigating company payments for 1999 and 2000. An investigation in Ohio also found misclassification totaling $48,000. More than 20 other states are now investigating the company's workers' comp practices.
    - Labor Ready called police when workers tried to collect union authorization cards ** this alone indicates to me that day labor through Labor Ready is NOT a route to steady employment.

    Here's the article:

  9. In 2001 the Washington State Department of Labor said Labor Ready, Inc. owed it half a million dollars for miscalculating workers' compensation premiums.

    When Labor Ready fudges its numbers by sending out an awful lot of "piano tuners" to do demolition work, taxpayers pay. The state government has an awful lot of companies to audit and not much money to do it.

  10. Probably the best way to hope to stop this is to have a lot of people show up at the ZBA meeting. Just so you know, the ZBA must find the following in order to grant the special use required (not, its actually a special use that they need, not a variance). Items 2-5 are probably your best bet.

    17-13-0905-A General Criteria
    Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Zoning Ordinance, no special use application may be approved unless the Zoning Board of Appeals finds that the
    proposed use in its proposed location meets all of the following criteria:
    1. complies with all applicable standards of this Zoning Ordinance;
    2. is in the interest of the public convenience and will not have a significant adverse impact on the general welfare of the neighborhood or community;
    3. is compatible with the character of the surrounding area in terms of site
    planning and building scale and project design;
    4. is compatible with the character of the surrounding area in terms of operating characteristics, such as hours of operation, outdoor lighting,
    noise, and traffic generation; and
    5. is designed to promote pedestrian safety and comfort.

  11. I ran into someone from Greg Harris' office last night at the caps meeting. He stated that there have been many letters against this zoning change that have come to the office. He stated Rep Harris would be talking to Ald Shiller about the lack of information that was being shared in the community. Both people from Ald Shillers and Ald Smiths ward have had a loud voice against this change.

  12. Well, ole Greg Harris endorsed Ms Shiller and now it's making him look bad. If he's going to defend an incompetent alderman then he's going to have the pay the price of looking stupid himself.

    Now do you really think Ms Shiller will listen to Greg? Has she ever listened to anyone before?