Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Emanuel Pits Unions vs. Layoffs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Mayor said he'll cut 625 city jobs if the City Hall unions don't play ball.

    Rahm Emanuel's morning jobs announcement -- in which he said that Walgreens would add 600 positions -- was marred by another announcement.

    The mayor may lay off some city staff if the City Hall labor unions don't agree to $20 million in work-rule changes.

    He said he's discussed the possibility to ax up to 625 city staffers with the Chicago Federation of Labor president Jorge Ramirez.

    "We had a conversation; it was a good conversation" Emanuel said.  "I want to grow jobs. I don't want to layoff people."

    The CFL says that's news to them, and planned to release a statement later Wednesday.

    Emanuel says his administration has earmarked the layoffs "as a precautionary measure" if contract talks break down this week.

    "Collectively as a city we have a deadline," Emanuel said. That's June 30.

    Union leaders don't anticipate action before Emanuel's deadline.

    A source close to the negotiations tells Ward Room the CFL has been working with a consultant for several months and hopes to present a complete package, “a series of ideas” to the mayor within two weeks.  

    That source says “furlough days are gone” but would not elaborate what cost cutting measures the union is willing to accept.  

    While the two year agreement ends tomorrow the unions believe they have some time before any layoffs would take place. 

    That labor source explains “there’s little fat in the city workforce.”  

    Over the last five years the number of city workers has diminished from 40,000 to 33,000.