Union leaders: No layoff notices received yet

July 18, 2011 3:02:28 PM PDT
Members of Chicago's labor unions are still waiting for their layoff notices after Mayor Rahm Emanuel said last week that the city is sending pink slips to hundreds of city workers.

As the mayor held a North Side news conference on partially privatizing the city's recycling program, his representatives were on the South Side meeting with union leaders. The organized labor bosses are even more perplexed by the mayor's layoff announcement last Friday because three days later, the notices still have not materialized.

Union leaders left the meeting still wondering if any of their members would lose their jobs. So far, they said, no workers had received a required layoff notice from City Hall.

"Obviously what the mayor talked about on Friday, laying people off, some of those people would be our members, but we have no specifics beyond what was said then," said Henry Bayer, AFSCME 31.

"It's unfortunate that from our perspective that the layoff notices or mention of them was even made," said Jorge Ramirez.

On Friday, Mayor Emanuel announced that as many as 625 city workers would get the axe because unions had not agreed to work rule changes.

ABC7 tried to get an update from the deputy mayor who represented the city but didn't get an answer.

"It's a beautiful day in Chicago, the greatest city in the world," said Mark Angelson told ABC7.

Earlier, the mayor announced a plan to contract private companies to help expand Chicago's stalled recycling program. The private haulers would compete with city workers to do the work at the lowest cost.

"I still believe the choice should be work-rule reforms and not workers' jobs. That's not a choice I want to make," he said. "Part will be done by private companies which have labor unions. Part will be done by the city of Chicago public employees."

"No city employees will be laid off on Teamsters and no 1001 members or laborers will be laid off in this process," said Tom Byrne, Streets and Sanitation commissioner.

"We have our idea of what that should look like and if that meshes with his then we might have something there that we can work with," said Ramirez.

The mayor has already announced plans for private companies to run janitorial services at libraries and airports, the water department call-in center and city health clinics. He indicated that privatization where it can work would be a central part of his budget-balancing strategy.

"That is a win-win situation for the city's future and I will not let the city's future be held back or in a hammerlock," said Emanuel.

On Monday afternoon, an Emanuel spokeswoman told ABC7's Charles Thomas that the layoff notices are "in the process" of being mailed. She said around 625 would be delivered sometime during this week.

Most of the union contracts require a 30 days notice for layoff and that's why getting the notices out sooner benefits the city which is trying to balance the rest of this year's budget.

A spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel said around 625 layoff notices would be delivered to city workers sometime during this week.

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