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AFSCME Issues Statement Regarding Union Layoffs

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jul 15, 2009 5:40PM

2009_07_15_unions.jpg Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has issued a statement in regards to the impending city job cuts coming from the Daley administration as a result of that union's refusal to make concessions with City Hall.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Daley Administration will not accept AFSCME's alternative approach which would achieve the same savings as the scheduled layoffs. Instead, we expect Mayor Daley will choose to put nearly 300 dedicated city employees out of work. The Mayor's decision will cause great hardship for these workers and their families, and will further reduce city services for residents who rely on them, especially in the police department, the libraries and the health clinics where most of the Mayor’s layoffs will occur. Mayor Daley’s choice today is the wrong choice for the city of Chicago, for city workers who provide services and for every resident of this city who relies on them.

After weeks of refusing to consider any alternative approach, city officials finally did talk with AFSCME leaders at City Hall last night and by phone this morning. AFSCME does not believe that a single one of our members should be laid off. We have offered a solution that provides the city with the same dollar savings that the layoffs will bring. Our union represents nearly 5,000 city of Chicago employees who provide essential services to Chicago residents. AFSCME members do vital work in the police department, health clinics and libraries. They ensure that the food we eat in restaurants is safe and the water we drink in our homes is clean, and they do much more.

Read the rest of the statement after the jump.


It’s critical to remember that last fall, AFSCME members agreed to help close a city budget shortfall by taking six unpaid days over the next two years--equal to a 1 percent pay cut. At the same time, the Daley Administration laid off more than 100 AFSCME members. Hardest hit by those cuts were city health services for those with no other health care options. Now the Mayor has demanded that AFSCME members take what amounts to a 10 percent cut in pay for the next two years--or face the 300 layoffs the Mayor appears ready to implement today. AFSCME put the Mayor's demand to a vote of our full membership in late June. By a 4-to-1 margin they voted to reject it. This vote said very clearly that our members—some of the lowest-paid city employees—could not afford a pay cut of that magnitude.

Our union informed the city of this result, and proposed an alternative approach that would achieve the same savings as the layoffs while protecting jobs and city services. To achieve that savings our union offered to make significant economic concessions. We regret that Mayor Daley today will choose to lay off city workers and reduce city services rather than agree to our reasonable alternative. AFSCME will continue to fight to protect our members and defend the vital services they provide.