O'Hare janitors worried about the future of their jobs made a trip to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's house yesterday afternoon to protest a new city contract. The workers rallied outside of the mayor's home on his 53rd birthday to protest the deal that will cause some 300 workers to lose their jobs next month, just days before the holidays.
“We don’t know how we will pay the bills, how we will put food on the table. We won’t be able to celebrate Christmas this year with our kids,” Manuel Nieves, a janitor at O’Hare for seven years, said about the impending layoffs. “Obama is always here for the working people, but our mayor’s ultimate purpose is to help the rich, not us.”
Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett hasproposed a five-year moratorium on school closings starting next school year.
The caveat? That state legislators approve a request to push back the announcement of the schools the district plans to close at the end of this academic year. The district, which should — by law — announce impending school closures by December 1, would like to push back the announcement to March 31, but needs the state legislature to approve the delay.
The impending loss next month of 300 custodial jobs at O’Hare
International Airport has raised concerns over the future relationship
between city leaders and organized labor.
At a meeting held last week at the headquarters of SEIU* Local 1, the Local's President Tom Balanoff sat alongside seven janitors as they
spoke about the impact the loss of their jobs would have on themselves
and their families.
Through a public information request, the Chicago Tribuneobtained Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s daily calendar between January and August of 2012. The Tribune’s focus on the hundreds of pages of documents is almost identical to the Chicago Reader, which did a two-part review of Emanuel’s public schedule between January and November of 2011. In a nutshell, the publications noted that Emanuel meets a lot with business leaders.
Emanuel’s ties with business are important given his policy record of ramming the Infrastructure Trust
through city council in April, a nebulous effort to use private money
for public projects, and expanding his own role as chairman of World Business Chicago, which coordinated the NATO summit in May.
But perusing through the calendar, available on the Tribune Web
site, reveals other elements of Emanuel’s tenure including his national
profile and approach to the Chicago Teachers Union labor dispute.
Protesters organized by Stand Up! Chicago staged a “die-in” yesterday
at Chicago's City Hall lying motionless on the floor to represent what
they say is the devastation that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget will
inflict on Chicago neighborhoods.
The advocates' message has
mostly fallen on deaf ears in the city council. Aldermen are expected at
a council meeting tomorrow to easily pass a budget that Emanuel
presented just last month. The only questions are whether the vote will
be unanimous and what, if any, items in the $6.54 billion package will
There was hope
when Emanuel became mayor last year of more give and take between
the city manager and council on the Windy City’s annual budget. Why has
this not happened?
Dozens of custodial workers from O’Hare International Airport filled
the fifth floor of City Hall Friday in protest of a recent city contract. The Emanuel administration recently awarded a new five-year janitorial contract with a company that may replace more than 300 union jobs at the airport with non-union,
lower-paying positions by next month.
Eighty-seven percent of the 65,763 Chicago voters who weighed in on
the matter said ‘yes’ to a non-binding referendum on whether the city
should have an elected, instead of mayor-appointed, school board.
effort by the city council’s progressive caucus this summer, with the
support of the Chicago Teachers Union, to get the referendum on ballots
across the city failed. So only voters in select polling precincts were
asked to consider the measure.
“Can you imagine the whole city of
Chicago saying the same thing and the momentum that would have rolled
from that,” asked Stacey Davis Gates, legislative policy director for
But even a citywide referendum would have been purely symbolic because, like so muchelse that governs the Chicago Public Schools, the selection of school board members is a matter of state, not city, law.