Thursday, September 5, 2013

Safe Passage = trauma for kids. But it's safe for Whole Foods & Walmart.

"We recognize this is a community we haven't served." -- Whole Foods CEO
I wonder what message the mayor is sending to families in Englewood as he closes their schools and courts Texas-based Whole Foods? He's using $10 million in TIF money to entice WF CEO John Mackey to grace the black community with one of his stores. That's money that should have been used to save schools and teaching jobs.

Yes, the store should open up a few low-wage, temporary and part-time jobs. And finally, a market in the "food desert."  But who is all this really for?

Whole Foods, the second largest union-free food retailer behind Walmart, has taken a position that unions are "not valid.” The company gives its workers a pamphlet titled “Beyond Unions," which has helped to fend off unionizing attempts in several cities. Mackey has even compared unions to “herpes." 

BTW, while Walmart is being targeted by thousands of protesting union workers and supporters today nationwide, Chicago Walmart workers are facing a struggle of their own. Tyrone Robinson, a local leader of the 83rd and Stewart Walmart store (Chatham neighborhood) of Chicago was retaliated against and fired after his participation in the June 7th, Caravan for Respect to Bentonville, AR shareholder meeting.

Join OUR Walmart and Warehouse Workers for Justice
Stand with Walmart Workers in Chicago! Rally for Respect!
Thursday, Sept 5 at 4:00 p.m.
Meet up at Heritage Green Park, 610 W. Adams St., Chicago

Seven more shot in Chicago yesterday, one fatally. At least eight dead (including a 16-year-old) and 25 others wounded in shootings over the Labor Day weekend. More shootings on Safe Passage routes. But Rahm and Byrd-Bennett breathe a sigh of relief. At least none of the victims were shot on the way to or from school.

In the Roseland neighborhood, half the safe passage workers quit last week alone.
Bob Jackson is a supervisor at Nehemiah Roseland Ceasefire, another group responsible for monitoring safe passage routes. The agency lost half of its workers when 13 of the 26 quit the day after school started. 
“Last week was a very hot week,” he said. “A lot of people have health issues and were not ready to be out in the sun.” “Some called a half hour before the shift started. some just didn’t return.” Weather may be one reason. Supervisors say others find full-time, better paying jobs.
Chief McCarthy says first week of Safe Passage was a great success. "“We’re making progress, step by step by step.”

But for thousands of children, school closings and  the Safe Passage program have been traumatic. More instability. Separation from familiar teachers and friends. Loss of special ed programs. Walking longer distances to school through dangerous territory under police and security guard with the prevailing expectation of violence.


  1. Millions in TIF $$ to Whole Foods? Are you kidding me? No way.

  2. McCarthy, who knows zip about education, considers it a "success" when
    "only" 8 people get killed in a weekend or when Chicago shootings go down from 500 to 450. A 10% drop. Isn't that great? Rahm's guys have a military approach to the school closings. There's even a Marine colonel in charge. If the body count goes down, they claim victory. School closings aren't a victory for anyone. Especially the kids.

  3. About your story RE: quitting Safe Passage Workers. Gee--what a surprise. Let's see what'll happen during the winter. And--speaking of less Safe Passage workers, what do we think will happen to the daily child count? Imagine small children having to walk an extra six to eight to whatever number more blocks they have to walk after the school closings in snow drifts and faced with icy, face-freezing winds. Is it possible that there will be more empty desks during December, January and February?
    Gee, perhaps the city will hire more Streets and San people to torch sidewalk ice and to snow blow sidewalks--the latter of which some suburbs do.


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