Chicago public employees picketed downtown Tuesday, calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to settle a new union contract with AFSCME Council 31
that includes decent wages that keep up with inflation.
A new contract
must also include "common sense" rules meant to prevent bad
privatization deals and protect public services and workers, according
to the dozens of public employees who protested near City Hall.
union’s previous contract with the city was set to expire July 1, 2012,
but it was temporarily extended. Workers have been at the bargaining
table with the city bartering over a new contract for more than a year and a
"Any company should want to pay their employees fair
wages but the transparency with the privatization, it's really a huge
issue, because what (the mayor) is basically trying to do is sell off
the city of Chicago," said Nicole Herron, who's worked in the city's
finance department for 18 years. "If he does that, we lose a huge part
of the middle class and lower-class people who make up a bulk of the
members upset with the "damaging" education policies endorsed by
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's appointed school board will hold their
first "People's School Board Meeting" Wednesday, the same day as the Chicago Board of Education's monthly meeting.
Organizers say the goal is to intensify the pressure for
an elected, representative school board in Chicago. The Chicago Board of
Education is the only non-elected school board in Illinois, and state
government must ultimately change the rules.
Going forward, the people's board meetings will be held in the evenings after each monthly Chicago Board of Education meeting. It will be
a space where people impacted by the board's "failed education
policies", like school closures and budget cuts, can be heard. The
Chicago Board of Education voted back in May to close a record-breaking
50 neighborhood schools. And the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district
is also grappling with a projected $1 billion budget deficit, which has
resulted in classroom spending cuts for some schools.
board has repeatedly made policy decisions that have failed Chicago
children with no accountability to the public," said Jeanette Taylor,
the Local School Council (LSC) chair at Irvin C. Mollison Elementary.
"We will not go to any more sham school closing hearings. We will not
sit at any more bogus advisory councils."