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Labor Leaders Meet With City to Discuss Layoffs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Local union leaders talk about their first meeting with the city since Mayor Emanuel announced layoffs of 625 workers.

    Local labor leaders on Monday met with the city for the first time since Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans Friday to lay off 625 workers.

    Though no specific efficiencies were pinpointed to reach Emanuel's targeted $10 million in budget savings, no layoff notices went out yet either.

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    Chicago Federal of Labor President Jorge Ramirez on Friday accused Mayor Rahm Emanuel of pouring "gasoline" on a fire by sending out layoff notices to 625 city employees.

    "We do believe there are efficiencies that can be realized, and we are willing to work with other unions and with the city to ensure that's realized," said Henry Bayer, executive director of AFSCME Council 31.

    But AFSCME doesn't want union workers' jobs to be the means to that end, Bayer said. "There's no need to lay off one city employee," he said. "The workforce in this city has been reduced substantially."

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    The mayor says he gave labor leaders options and time to help shore up a budget. When they didn't respond, he had no choice but to cut.

    AFSCME said it would continue talks with the city. The group is working with the Chicago Federation of Labor to conduct a study to pinpoint ways to save money.

    No further meeting was scheduled, and Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez said he wouldn't give an estimation about when the labor proposals would be complete. He said the goal is "to resolve this in a way that's respectful to [workers] and their families without laying them off."

    "This was the city's meeting," he said. "They asked us to put this together. This is what should have happened as a first step. It didn't happen until now, but we're at where we're at."

    Deputy Mayor Mark Angelson didn't comment after the meeting. He only said, "It's a beautiful day in Chicago, greatest city in the world."