Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel shows us how to be a turkey.
In a letter to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago’s labor movement, including the teachers union, the Fraternal Order of Police, AFSCME and the Chicago Federation of Labor, called out Mayor Rahm Emanuel as a turkey.
Letters to the Editor
November 23, 2011
Unfortunately, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s claim in the Nov. 20 Sun-Times that he is “working well with Chicago’s unions” is not supported by facts. To the contrary, Emanuel has needlessly picked fights with city unions, refusing to negotiate in good faith or respond to offers of cooperation.
Rather than valuing the contributions that teachers, firefighters, nurses, librarians, police officers, bus drivers and other public servants make to keep Chicago working, he has consistently sought to scapegoat these men and women for the city’s problems. Sun-Times editorials have rightly criticized Emanuel and his administration for “trying to bully” and “blame workers” with “spin and mockery.”
More to the point, Emanuel’s record doesn’t support his assertion that he sides with “hardworking middle-class families who pay the tax bills” — not with his 2012 budget plan that cuts jobs and public services while reducing corporate taxes and imposing regressive fees on working people. He will shorten library hours, close police stations and neighborhood health clinics, potentially lengthen emergency response times and eliminate hundreds of jobs amid historic unemployment.
At the same time, Emanuel’s budget will give big corporations a $20 million-a-year break by eliminating the “head tax.” It makes no effort to reform TIF districts that sap revenue from schools, public safety and other services. And it comes as Emanuel says his top priorities for state legislation are cutting taxes for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and cutting modest pensions for public servants.
It’s ironic that Emanuel’s statements came on a day he campaigned for President Barack Obama. The president’s record is one of fighting to save safety net programs and protect public jobs while pushing rich people and big corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. Mayor Emanuel’s priorities look a lot more like those of the president’s anti-union, budget-slashing, protect-the-wealthy political opponents.
Michael Shields, president, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 Chicago
Karen Lewis, president, Chicago Teachers Union
Henry Bayer, executive director, AFSCME Council 31
Jorge Ramirez, president, Chicago Federation of Labor