Mayor Rahm Emanuel's political allies are applauding his pact with the Fraternal Order of Police union to reportedly get Chicago law enforcement officers an 11 percent raise as well as retroactive pay.
Not among them: 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti and Chicago Teachers Union firebrand Karen Lewis.
Two of Emanuel's most vocal critics, Fioretti and Lewis—each mulling a run for mayor in 2015—are poo-poohing what many consider to be a victory for the embattled Windy City boss and a silver lining in a stormy re-election forecast.
Lewis tells the Sun-Times, "He's done three years worth of damage and now in six months, as he's struggling for his political life, he's trying to make amends. Police are going to see through this and I don't think it's going to make any difference. Now, you're gonna give us a contract when you could have done this two years ago? He should have given them their retro pay. But, he should never have waited all this time. That's how this guy is. He wants to play hardball with everybody. Now, he needs something. Now, he wants to play nice guy with them."
And here's Fioretti: "In the last few weeks — and in the next six months — he's gonna do everything he can to try and win back the groups he has alienated. It's too little, too late. It may satisfy them in terms of benefits, but will it satisfy them in terms of voting? That’s a different question. I hope they're not used as political pawns."
Extending an olive branch to organized labor, Emanuel declared Thursday that he'd made a deal with the Fraternal Order—the biggest union in Chicago, with some 12,000 members—that would reportedly grant city cops retro pay increases of 2 percent stretching back to 2012 and 2013 as well as an 11 percent raise over a five-year period. The mayor has previously been tough on back pay, seizing on the issue during tense contract negotiations with the FOP, whose former president made a massive paperwork gaffe that prevented officers from getting automatic payments.
The City Hall-police union pact is in limbo pending approval by union members and the City Council.
Last month, polling revealed Emanuel's job approval rating at an all-time low amid backlash from voters who consider the mayor out of touch with the everyday Chicagoan. Afterward Fioretti began to crowd-source interest in a possible play for the mayorship. Lewis is also gauging response to a potential run, popping up at meet-and-greets around town.