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.
"This is no way to treat a partner," he said at an afternoon press conference just a few hours after the mayor made good on his threat.
Emanuel said he needed labor unions to come up with ideas on how to plug a $30 million budget hole and apparently wanted their ideas sooner, rather than later.
But while Ramirez said labor "shares [Emanuel's] sense of urgency," he said the budget analysts they hired just hadn't yet offered up their report.
"We aren't stalling. We are serious about this process, and we want to do it right. This issue is too important to the city and to the taxpayers to do things half-heartedly," he said.
He said that despite what Emanuel said earlier in the day, there have been no negotiations over work-rule changes. Furthermore, he said, no deadlines were given by the city as to when their efficiency ideas were due.
"Mayor Emanuel's decision today, to lay off these workers and privatize services without really engaging in the process, is both perplexing and disappointing to all of us," he said. "When there's a fire, you don't pour gasoline on it. You pour water on it."