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Chicago’s Day Labor Tour of Shame Confronts Paper Source on Labor Injustices

SLWC “Quiet, quiet!” exclaimed a smiling Ari Glazer, one organizer from the San Lucas Workers Center, as I and about 40 others, composed of day laborers, children, clergy, and community organizers, were spirited from a school bus and directed into a designer paper store called Paper Source surprising employees, management, and customers in order to draw attention to their abusive and illegal labor practices.

Three Paper Source workers were fired for speaking out against labor injustices inflicted upon them by management.

Paper Source contracts with Ron’s Staffing in order to operate the warehouses where the materials for their over 20 stores are created and packaged. Ron’s, owned by Ron Michelon, (312-654-0181) has a notorious history of abusing day laborers. According to the Illinois Department of Labor, the agency has violated Illinois labor laws over 6,000 times—accruing fines of over $100,000.

The San Lucas Workers Center was demanding that the fired workers be rehired, that Paper Source cease its business relationship with Ron’s Staffing immediately and that Paper Source change their temporary worker contracting to a code of conduct-compliant day labor agency as it said it would some time last fall.

On April 12th, more than one potential customer was turned away after seeing the store filled with media and angry day laborers chanting slogans such as “Clean it up or shut it down!” and “Fire Ron’s!” Store managers stated that the owners of Paper Source, Sue Lindstrom (312-775-6915) and Jim York (312-775-6908), could not be reached by phone.

It remains to be seen if Paper Source will do its part to end the slave-like conditions that it so uncaringly entered into with Ron’s. One thing is for sure: these workers are fired up and ready to win. Read the full article here.

Video: Working For Justice: Challenging the Abuses of Chicago's Day Labor Industry
Photos: 1 | 2 | 3


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