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Part of McCormick Place reform law struck down

Friday, Apr 1, 2011

* The Teamsters and the Carpenters unions both said from the beginning that their case against the McCormick Place reform law was a slam dunk winner. Round One proved them right

Efforts by Illinois to preserve McCormick Place’s position as one of the country’s premier trade show venues were upended Thursday when a federal judge ruled that the state overstepped its bounds by revising work rules for unionized tradespeople on the show floor.

The ruling threw out passages of the law enacted last year that allow exhibitors to do more of their own booth setup and limit labor overtime and crew sizes.

The decision, which appeared to stun state political leaders, is a clear setback for efforts by Chicago and the state to remake the image of the convention center as a less expensive and more accommodating facility for trade shows and conventions. The city was taking a beating as high-profile trade shows left or threatened to leave for lower-cost cities such as Orlando and Las Vegas.

Now a major component of the changes that already were proving popular with show organizers and exhibitors has been tossed aside.

More

Guzman told the Legislature “it had no business trying to interfere with collective bargaining,” said Marvin Gittler, an attorney representing Local 727 of the Teamsters. Gittler said the city-state agency that runs McCormick Place, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, used the General Assembly to enforce concessions it could not get in bargaining.

Guzman held that the National Labor Relations Act pre-empts the Legislature from dictating terms for unions working at McCormick Place. His ruling let stand other aspects of the reform involving the authority, commonly called McPier because it oversees McCormick Place and Navy Pier. […]

The judge attacked the legislative rationale about cost control. “Despite its breadth, it’s not clear that [the reform bill] advances the state’s goal of reducing exhibitors’ costs,” he wrote.

Guzman noted that exhibitors, companies that rent space at a show to tout their wares or services, don’t pay for union work directly but are billed for it by show contractors. Without intruding on labor relations, the General Assembly could have limited contractor markups on labor or regulated the profit McPier gets from facility rentals and parking, the judge said.

* McPier’s full response…

All of us at the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) are greatly disturbed at today’s ruling by the U.S. District Court overturning the labor reforms enacted by the General Assembly last May. As all observers of the convention and trade show business are aware, the implementation of those reforms has, virtually overnight, transformed McCormick Place from a great convention and trade show facility that was rapidly losing its customer base into an industry power house.

Not only were our existing customers convinced to keep their events in Chicago but new shows have been rapidly signing up, and these reforms have had a strong positive impact on the economy of Chicago during these difficult economic times.

We believe the ruling is faulty in several ways and are very hopeful that it will be overturned on appeal. On Monday, we ask the District Court to stay execution of the order pending appeal to the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. We are confident that we have ample grounds to support that request.

The ruling does not affect other aspects of the reform legislation. These include the Trusteeship, the power of the Interim Board to put in place a private firm to manage McCormick Place and MPEA’s ability to enter into a lease with Navy Pier, Inc., the recently formed not-for-profit corporation governed by a Board of civic minded Chicagoans.

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


50 Comments
  1. - anon - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 7:53 am:

    As with workers’ comp and public employee pension reform, our unions ought to be wary of killing the goose…


  2. - SUE - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:00 am:

    The NLRB which is a captive of the Democratic/Organized Labor party got this wrong- A state can mandate what work is performed and how it is performed within a state facility without raising NLRB areas of jurisdiction- This should get reversed at the Seventh Circuit- Have to hand it to the Governor and his relationship with organized labor-


  3. - Obamarama - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:11 am:

    ===Have to hand it to the Governor and his relationship with organized labor===

    Yeah, what a jerk representing the working class. Everyone knows that every AFSCME and SEIU member makes millions of dollars per year off of the taxpayers. Give me a break.

    Regardless of what a bad Governor (which I admit, even as a Democrat) PQ is, he has a constitutional requirement to protect the most vulnerable of Illinois residents. Sorry; them’s the rules.


  4. - Think Big - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:18 am:

    Just when Gov Walker and his heavy-handed GOP colleagues were losing the PR battle over collective bargaining rights, unions provide a clear-cut example of how collective bargaining can hurt the common good? Sadly, short term thinking is not in short supply.


  5. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:18 am:

    - Have to hand it to the Governor and his relationship with organized labor -

    Ummm, does Quinn control the courts? Pretty sure he signed this law. I don’t really know whether I agree with the ruling or not, but I’m pretty sure Quinn doesn’t sit on the court.


  6. - uniondem - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:20 am:

    I think the General Assembly missed the entire problem at McCormick. Why haven’t we examined and scrutinized the contracts with the third party contractors that run operations at McCormick, rather than engaging in labor violations? The workers at McCormick are not rolling in the dough. There are third party contractors in McCormick that are out to profit off of their work. The result is unreasonable overhead costs on their labor.


  7. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:26 am:

    –Guzman noted that exhibitors, companies that rent space at a show to tout their wares or services, don’t pay for union work directly but are billed for it by show contractors. Without intruding on labor relations, the General Assembly could have limited contractor markups on labor or regulated the profit McPier gets from facility rentals and parking, the judge said.–

    The problem with that is there are only two big contractors — Freeman and GES — that rule the roost at the big convention halls.

    Squeeze their margins and they can use their considerable clout to steer shows to other cities. I imagine that’s why the law was written as it was in the first place.

    It’s not like the unions are the only ones making a buck here.


  8. - SUE - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:28 am:

    what I meant by my comment is that Quinn could have and should have used his relationship and mediated a resolution- what good is it for him to be the Union’s doormat if he can’t when needed go to bat for the State’s interests


  9. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:36 am:

    - what good is it for him to be the Union’s doormat if he can’t when needed go to bat for the State’s interests -

    Sue, did you not read what this is about? Quinn signed a law that the unions opposed, as evidenced by the case they filed and apparently won. Rich is going to have to add some sort of drawing feature for me to make this any clearer.


  10. - piling on - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:43 am:

    STL, Quinn vetoed the law and was overridden. Sure, that didn’t stop him from going to press conferences to announce big conventions coming to Chicago because of the reforms … that he vetoed … but applauds … though he vetoed …

    Ooh, how my head hurts and there more than 3 years to go.


  11. - phocion - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:44 am:

    STL, I believe Quinn vetoed this legislation, and that the GA voted to over-ride his veto.

    Putting on my conspiracy hat, it could be that the courts are flexing their muscles lately to “warn” the General Assembly not to mess with their pensions.


  12. - chi - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:52 am:

    Rich, didn’t you write about the entities that run/bring in these shows and how they fit into the picture along with labor and McPier? Any chance you could link to that? It seems a good time for a refresher.


  13. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 8:55 am:

    Ahh, my mistake indeed, definitely forgot about the veto. Sorry Sue, while I might not agree with you, I was definitely incorrect.


  14. - SUE - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 9:04 am:

    STL- MPEA historically has been a revenue engine for the state despite having to deal with Union featherbedding- absent conventions and trade shows renting the place, there will be no union jobs- Unions have always been very short sighted in terms of trying to maximize current salaries and benefits at the cost of long term job growth- Quinn should do everything he can now that he was elected to a full term to maximize economic growth and jobs even if he has to occasionally disagree with his Union Controllers


  15. - Ghost of John Brown - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 9:25 am:

    The Golden Goose just got roasted rotisserie style.

    It would be interesting to know how much work the Unions would have by allowing exhibitors to do some of their own work with lots of conventions vs. the unions doing all of the work with fewer conventions now that conventions will go elsewhere.


  16. - x ace - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 9:34 am:

    Collective Bargaining rights gained with the blood and sweat of the working man should not be pushed aside. That’s simply what the Court said.

    Both sides are free to negotiate a mutually beneficial deal. Allowing the Leg. to interfere is
    wrong. Might as well go back to the robber baron era.

    Congratulations to the Labor Movement on the victory.


  17. - downhereforyears - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 9:43 am:

    ===Yeah, what a jerk representing the working class. Everyone knows that every AFSCME and SEIU member makes millions of dollars per year off of the taxpayers. Give me a break.===
    What the heck does this have to do with AFSCME and SEIU. To my knowledge this is all about the trade unions.


  18. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 9:45 am:

    Nobody has a beef with the union workers, it’s the union bureaucracy that people really are complaining about.

    A direct result of the McCormick Place legislation that Quinn opposed is that conventions that were threatening to pull out stayed there, and new conventions came to Chicago. This is a plain and simple fact.

    Now ask yourself this, what would the unions workers prefer, the environment established by the law Quinn opposed where conventions remained that gives them work, or the pre-law environment that Quinn wanted to maintain where conventions were leaving in droves and the union workers were losing work and pay?

    I have first hand knowledge of using McCormick place as an exhibitor. We couldn’t plug in an extension cord nor carry a small cardboard box without union labor. This onerous environment made us pull out. It would seem that the only “rights” anyone are really concerned about are those of the union management to inhibit commerce at the expense of everyone else in the system.

    A small part of me would like to see the union management win, and McCormick place close with all of the blight it would cause and loss revenues and jobs.


  19. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 9:50 am:

    - A small part of me would like to see the union management win, and McCormick place close with all of the blight it would cause and loss revenues and jobs. -

    Wow Cinci, most hardliners don’t put their fantasies in print.

    Apocalyptic visions aside, the problems at McCormick Place aren’t all the fault of the unions. If I recall, the various charges for things like electricity, which don’t go to the unions, are pretty outrageous.


  20. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:07 am:

    STL,

    Yes, everything about exhibiting at McCormick place was expensive, including the cost of admission and food and beverages for the clients (don’t even think about handing our a Coke).

    The union interference was more than just an issue about the direct costs. We waited hours to get things done my technicians could safely do in no time at all. So we all stood around (with my engineers and other staff on the clock) while we waited and waited and waited.


  21. - Responsa - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:14 am:

    ==Regardless of what a bad Governor ….. PQ is, he has a constitutional requirement to protect the most vulnerable of Illinois residents. Sorry; them’s the rules==

    You are saying that union management and union members are the most vulerable of Illinois residents? Really?


  22. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:21 am:

    Fine Cinci, but your post claimed a union management win would be the cause of McCormick Place closing and blight, etc. Maybe the unions would be willing to cut a deal if they weren’t the only ones doing the cutting.


  23. - Responsa - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:24 am:

    ==A small part of me would like to see the union management win, and McCormick place close with all of the blight it would cause and loss revenues and jobs==

    I strongly criticized someone on here yesterday for a very similar observation, and now seeing this included in your comment is very disappointing. Not to mention tacky and sort of juvenile. I’m surprised at you, Cincy.


  24. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:35 am:

    STL,

    “Fine Cinci, but your post claimed a union management win would be the cause of McCormick Place closing and blight, etc.”

    Even the most cursory reading of my post would reveal that conclusion to be ridiculous.

    What I did say was if the union bureaucracy (consistent with Quinn’s wishes) wins, there is a high probability that the union workers will lose pay, and Chicago would lose significant revenues.

    I am a it surprised to see you aligning yourself with the union leaders and Mr. In the Pockets of Unions Pat Quinn against the workers who actually need to survive on their work product, and the City who needs the revenues to provide basic services like police and education. This is probably the most interesting development one can discover in this thread.


  25. - Fed up - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:36 am:

    It would begin to seem Madigan And Cullerton are pretty incompetent when writing and passing important high profile laws. First the video gaming/ booze tax goes down in flames now this. Maybe the state legislature needs some of that performance based pay like the teachers.


  26. - Fed up - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:40 am:

    This will be a win/ lose for the unions. Win a battle to save silly embarrassing work rules that infuriate actual working people. Lose the jobs that will disappear when the conventions and trade shows see that Chicago ain’t ready for reform.


  27. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:40 am:

    Responsa,

    I did not say I metaphysically wanted that to happen. I do offer it as a thought experiment for you and others to consider. Are things so bad that we need my hypothetical scenario to actually occur to make a point everyone can finally understand? I don’t think that is the case, but the courts, the unions, Paddy Quinn and the legislators better start looking at the real effects of their actions or they are dooming everyone to a terrible fate.


  28. - Been There - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:41 am:

    ===Putting on my conspiracy hat, it could be that the courts are flexing their muscles lately to “warn” the General Assembly not to mess with their pensions.===
    Phocion, this was in federal court. Federal judges could care less about the GA.


  29. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:44 am:

    - Even the most cursory reading of my post would reveal that conclusion to be ridiculous. -

    Oh, believe me Cinci, I find the conclusion to be ridiculous. But unless you were writing in some language that looks remarkably similar to English but isn’t, it’s exactly what you said.


  30. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:51 am:

    STL,

    Quoting myself:

    “A small part of me would like to see the union management win, and McCormick place close with all of the blight it would cause and loss revenues and jobs.”

    Yet another opportunity for you to deflect the meaning of someone’s opinion. Well done sir, you are a master!

    But no matter how you spin it now, you have shown yourself to be firmly aligned with the union leadership and the corruptocrat Pat Quinn (union donations for no-cut contracts, nothing to see here, move along) against the very people you so often claim to care about.


  31. - Wumpus - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 10:58 am:

    Naperville Teachers just conceded on soem of their 7% raises. What idiot gives them a 7% raise? Either way, they took smaller raises and did the right thing. This is a side note, but a good thing.


  32. - Union History for BUNN Corporation - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 11:00 am:

    A story that my grandfather told has never left me.

    Many years ago in Springfield Illinois a company made Coffee makers and sold them internationally. Springfield based BUNN-O-MATIC, now BUNN, produced their product line at the corp. HQ in Springfield, Illinois. The workers wanted to get raises and were on strike. The local Bunn Family opposed the effort at the time thinking the workers were some of the better paid employees around.

    Mr. Bunn Attempted to go to work one morning and cross the picket line. His path was blocked by the striking workers who decided to throw eggs at his car. As I recall they also broke out his windshield. That afternoon Mr. Bunn decided to move a good portion of the manufacturing facility to Iowa.

    The egg throwing windshield breakers, and formerly well paid employees were in shock as the equipment was loaded up and shipped out of state with their jobs.

    It seems to me that the unions at McPier have won a pyrrhic victory here. Chicago will lose trade show business but the union workers will be entitled to the highest pay in the land for these types of trade show jobs. Only trouble is there may not be many shows in Chicago’s freezing weather.


  33. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 11:06 am:

    UNfBC,

    “Chicago will lose trade show business but the union workers will be entitled to the highest pay in the land for these types of trade show jobs.”

    And that is not a hypothetical in any way, shape or form. That was exactly the path McCormick place was on, and like turning on a light switch, and in the middle of a recession, the law that Pat Quinn opposed and was just overturned by the court, caused a sharp improvement in McCormick place usage.


  34. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 11:06 am:

    Cinci - I have absolutely no idea what your last post means. Literally no clue.


  35. - SUE - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 11:14 am:

    For anyone signing Gov Quinn’s praises- all you need to do is look at who he recently appointed to run various labor related agencies- Former Union Staff members- Illinois will never move forward as long as the Governor feels compelled to constantly repay his Union supporters for their election support- We are becoming a very unfriendly State in terms of running a business and it keeps getting worse- We need jobs not more union rules


  36. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    Some general observations on the reforms that were passed and the trade show industry in Chicago:

    –The union work rules and costs that are now in question were very important to the shows. But they were not the only ones and many did not involve unions at all. In other words, the unions weren’t the only problem.

    The shows got the ability to bring in their own food or contract with outside caterers. Prior to that, they had to take or leave the universally mediocre fare provided by McPier’s clouted up food contractor.

    Shows no longer have to contract through McPier for electrical service, a big money maker for the McPier board.

    In addition, the state doubled to $20 million the amount of money available to market and promote Mac Place to shows. Of Chicago’s biggest competitors, Las Vegas spends $120 million a year while Orlando spends about $40 million.

    In the last 20 years, there’s been an explosion of convention space all over the country. At the same time, there are fewer big shows for the Big 3 to compete for. The growth sector in the industry is smaller, educational shows, not the biggies that require massive amounts of setup and teardown.

    Finally, the state and local investment in Mac Place was not to provide a relatively small number of jobs for union members at the sites. You could never have justified the billions in construction expenses for that.

    The purpose of the convention, tradeshow and meeting industry is to attract overnight visitors to the area so they’ll stay at the hotels, eat at the restaurants, shop at the stores, ride in the cabs, etc.

    It’s largely taxes on those activities that back the revenue bonds that built Mac Place. When those taxes fall short for lack of visitors, the state’s GRF is on the hook to make up the difference in debt payments.


  37. - phocion - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 11:36 am:

    Been There, you’re absolutely right. Time for a new tin foil hat.


  38. - steve schnorf - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 11:36 am:

    I think the bigger and more important message here is how federal courts look at legislative attempts to override collective bargaining agreements; it’s generally a no-no.


  39. - Irish - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 12:07 pm:

    #1. I agree with Steve S. The GA, a politically motivated group should not be able to arbitrarily over ride items that have been bargained for and cotractually agreed to.

    #2. It appears that the problems at McPier are more in the management of the operation than the cost of the union labor. Labor union workers do not mean the workers are lazy. If they are not reacting quickly enough then that is a management issue. I have managed unionized worker s in several different businesses and situations. There is nothing in those contracts that allow laziness or insubordination, and I have rarely had issues with either in 38 years at two different jobs.

    And finally, casting no aspersions on anyone’s staff, but what if a booth collapses, or an overloaded circuit starts a fire due to the untrained, uncertified, being able to put together an exhibit. Then will we hear the wailing and wringing of hands over the casualties? There is a reason why professionals are used for certain jobs. Has anyone considered or even looked into the position those who insure Mc Place have taken on having non professionsals building and doing electrical work in a venue where hundreds of thousands attend every day? Have those costs increased?


  40. - steve schnorf - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 12:09 pm:

    Irish, I wasn’t saying the GA shouldn’t, just that generally the courts won’t let them.


  41. - Irish - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 12:23 pm:

    Steve, Yes I understand that. I guess I should have put a bigger space between the two thoughts.
    I agree with you that the court said the GA had no right to change the union agreement.

    Then I was going further is saying that union contracts should not be able to be arbitrarily changed by a group who is solely driven by politics and the whims of contributors.


  42. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 12:28 pm:

    Irish, some union rates and work rules have been a major issue, but again, were not the only ones that were in need of reform.

    When the Healthcare Information show pulled out in 2009, their cost of electrical service contracted through McPier was $40,000, compared to $4,000 in Orlando. Now shows can contract on their own.

    The Plastics Show, when they pulled out, cited the example of a $345 McPier charge for four cases of pop; $63 a case; $13 gratuity; $9 tax; and $50 deliver charge. Now shows can bring in their own food.


  43. - Spring - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 12:29 pm:

    If the state republicans run a nice statewide anti union platform in 2 november’s madigan may lose his speaker gig. Stuff like this only helps. P. Quinn still talks like he won a landslide.


  44. - Jasper - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 12:48 pm:

    What I find interesting is that the legislature as a matter of routine sets work requirements and of course minimum wages. Usually those favor the workers. Now it seems that the legislature has gone the other way and favored management and there is outrage.

    Seems strange.


  45. - tradeshowguy - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 1:49 pm:

    The tradeshows that McCormick Place is losing are going to other Union Convention Centers (Orlando, Vegas) with more reasonable work rules This is really competition between local unions. The Chicago unions just don’t realize it…yet.


  46. - Just the Facts - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 2:00 pm:

    Like Cinci, I too have experienced this from an exhibitor’s perspective. Red tape and Sky high Costs are not an attractive business climate. The shows will leave in droves.


  47. - Park - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 3:46 pm:

    Oops. Wonder if the shows that were on the edge, but commited after the legislation put in a contingent cancellation for this. They should have as the litigation was certain to be filed.


  48. - downhereforyears - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 5:15 pm:

    Rich, do questions that participants ask of you violate any of the rules. I noticed one of your quotes and asked a legitimate question. suddenly both your post and my question disappeared.


  49. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 5:41 pm:

    ===suddenly both your post and my question disappeared.===

    Not sure why you can’t see them, but they were never touched.


  50. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 1, 11 @ 5:43 pm:

    Now I know why. You’re looking at the wrong thread, dingdong.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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        * The bleeding has stopped, but Navistar is still struggling


        * Editorial: Bishop a good fit for Chicago
        * Chicago’s next archbishop Blase Cupich calls for immigration reform, shows off his humor
        * Convicted rapist charged in 2004 murder, rape on South Side
        * Reports: Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane will be Cardinal Francis George successor
        * ‘Hello’ in Riverside ends up getting South Side man a DUI charge
        * 2 dead, 21 wounded in shootings across Chicago since Friday night
        * Apple fans answer the iPhone’s call
        * Chicago Scots gather to await results of independence vote
        * Gas, electric price hike estimates lowered by northern Indiana utility


        * Man dead, 13 others wounded in city shootings
        * Police: 2 charged in city tow truck scam
        * 2 wounded in city shootings
        * Prosecutors: Gunman told fellow gang member 'I just hit a shorty'
        * Extra-alarm fire at West Side church
        * Chicago-area storm watches canceled
        * Man fatally stabbed in Gresham neighborhoood
        * Man dies after being hit by motorcycle in Romeoville
        * Spokane bishop introduced as Chicago's next archbishop


        * Cupich to be next Chicago archbishop
        * Treasurer Candidate Tom Cross Says He Would Sue The Legislature To Force A Balanced Budget
        * Listen to State Week - September 19, 2014
        * Quinn Defends Public Education, Though He's A Product of Private Schools
        * Chris Mooney: More Evidence-Based Policymaking Needed
        * African Drumming At Southwind Park On Saturday
        * Investors gather in Chicago seeking cannabis businesses
        * Climate, Space Create Challenges For Local Food
        * Can A Governor Really Create Jobs?
        * How do you find high school dropouts?


        * Deadline ahead for Illinois marijuana businesses
        * Gov. Quinn picks up Sierra Club endorsement
        * Our Opinion: Springfield needs Magro project
        * Angie Muhs: Open government is worth fighting for
        * Statehouse Insider: Rauner hit with double whammy
        * Statehouse Insider: Rauner hit with double whammy
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Bull flies in 13th Congressional race
        * More than $59M collected from state retirees; refunds coming eventually
        * Jan Gambach: Recovery is possible
        * Maurine Magliocco: Education Task Force at work


        * Harness racing runs wild in Southern Illinois
        * Public safety 9/21/14
        * From tragedy to triumph
        * Asmussen Top 25
        * Foundation gala benefits CCHS
        * Neighborhood watch: Crimes of the week
        * SIU boasts long list of achievements
        * Police arrest bank robbery suspect following Cairo shooting
        * Reluctant Townie: The decline of my recliner
        * Here's what's happening on the theater scene


        * Rotary Club Oktoberfest ends Sunday in Palatine
        * Rozner: For Konerko, farewell just about perfect
        * Spiegel: Here's hoping Oakland goes on deep postseason run
        * Sunday picks: Soprano Karen Slack takes on 'Tosca'
        * Firefighters finally home from Cabo: 'We figured it was time to try'

        * Rep. candidate pushes to uphold marriage b...
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        * Statement by Representative Jan Schakowsky...
        * FAA Rejects Call For New O'Hare Noise Stud...
        * Representatives Quigley, Duckworth, Schako...
        * Representative Jan Schakowsky Statement on...
        * Representative Jan Schakowsky Statement in...
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        * Rep. Jan Schakowsky discounts threat from ...
        * Representative Jan Schakowsky Statement on...

        * Northwestern gets grant to prevent sexual ......
        * Northwestern gets grant to prevent sexual ......
        * Northwestern gets grant to prevent sexual ......
        * Northwestern gets grant to prevent sexual ......
        * Northwestern gets grant to prevent sexual ......

        * Diplomats: Iran open to softened US nuke p......
        * Diplomats: Iran receptive to softened nuke......

        * The Highland teachers strike. A great editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
        * Sunday reads.
        * Gov. Mike Huckabee Endorses Mike Bost for U.S. Congress
        * Rauner says he'll make administration picks based on qualifications, not favors
        * 'Suicide fanatics' facing demonstrators in Chicago
        * Eric Metaxas to Christians: As the world darkens, share the Truth
        * Callis releases new negative ad on Davis
        * LAUSD 2014 Professional Development.
        * Darwin’s Mr. P would like some ukes for his kids.
        * The Road to Riches


        * Quinn still refusing to fire 20 political cronies
        * Illinois Chamber of Commerce Endorses Rauner for Governor
        * Rauner Web Ad: “Cut from the Same Cloth”
        * Illinois Department of Human Rights Commemorates International Day of Peace
        * Quinn Misleads Public on IDOT Again




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