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600+ City Employees to be Laid Off

By Soyoung Kwak in News on Jul 16, 2011 4:00PM

Mayor Emanuel gave unions until yesterday to come up with a solution to help solve the $31 million city budget deficit or else face layoffs. Labor organizations were unable to, and it looks like more than 600 city employees will be seeing pink slips.

Although the news of layoffs isn't exactly welcome and heartwarming, Mayor Emanuel did list a few ways the city will be addressing the deficit:

The Mayor said the city will no longer be responsible for the custodial services at libraries and at the airports, managing benefits, and staffing the water billing call center. He also said he'll cut the seasonal work force at the Department of Transportation by 75%.

The Mayor says these moves will save $10 million. He announced recently he saved the other $20 million by making changes to the city's health care community clinics, and by not filling up to 200 open positions.

While labor organizations feel that Mayor Emanuel didn't give them enough time to respond with a resolution, Mayor Emanuel doesn't really agree with that sentiment:

"It has been two weeks and despite ongoing talks between leaders of organized labor and my administration, none of the changes yet have been embraced or agreed upon," Emanuel said. "My duty as mayor is to protect our city's taxpayers ... not to protect the city's payroll."

Should Mayor Emanuel have been more patient with labor organizations to reach an amicable end-point to resolving the $31 million shortfall? It does seem that two weeks is a relatively short time, but we understand that time is of the essence with money matters here in Chicago. Whatever the reasoning is, Mayor Emanuel is pretty serious about solving the city's budget issue.