The Warehouse—birthplace of House music—gets landmark status

Last week, City Council voted to grant landmark status to a building widely considered to be the birthplace of house music. Located in the West Loop at 203 S. Jefferson St., in the 70s and 80s the building was home to The Warehouse, a dance club where DJ Frankie Knuckles pioneered the genre that would later spread around the world. Knuckles took samples from disco records, layering sporadic, uplifting vocals on top of steady beats. The Warehouse was initially a member-only club for mostly Black gay men, but house music became a welcoming space for all manner of marginalized people, from Black and Latinx Chicagoans to LGBTQ+ clubgoers. As the late Knuckles put it, “House music is a church for the children fallen from grace.” The Warehouse closed in 1982 and the building currently houses a law office, but efforts to preserve the building have gained momentum since earlier this year. The landmark status protects the façade from alterations and demolition.

New minimum wage

A bump to Chicago’s minimum wage will go into effect on July 1. The hourly rate for large employers with twenty-one or more workers will be $15.80 an hour, compared to the current rate of $15. Tipped workers (workers who receive tips, like restaurant servers) will now have a minimum rate of $9.00 for smaller employers, and $9.48 for larger employers. Last week, nearly a dozen alderpersons joined restaurant workers and labor advocates in City Hall to call for the elimination of a “sub minimum” wage for tipped workers and “one fair wage” of $15 or more for everyone. Mayor Brandon Johnson later said he was committed to “wages that reflect the cost increase that is creeping up on all of us.”

Museum of Science and Industry unionizes

Workers at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) overwhelmingly voted to unionize this month. According to the National Labor Relations Board, around seventy-five percent of members voted in favor of joining the IL Cultural Workers United AFSCME chapter. The worker campaign went live in April with a letter including fifty-four signatures. Part of what they are seeking to establish is pay equity to mitigate burnout and high turnover rates and implementing a zero tolerance policy against discrimination. In a tweet the worker organizing committee celebrated the achievement: “We came together out of care for one another as coworkers and out of love for this museum and the communities we serve. We are organizing with hope in our hearts to make MSI a better place to work…” 

MSI joins the list of local museums, like the Field Museum, who are seeking to formalize unionization following the footsteps of the Art Institute and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. 

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1 Comment

  1. The Warehouse address is 203 S Jefferson and NOT as listed in article 206 w Jefferson. Just kindly bringing the error to your attention hoping to improve your excellent research and writing.

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