Be Kind to Your Soon-To-Be Laid Off Crossing Guard

Employee union says Chicago police will do those 300 jobs

By Peggy Cassidy
|  Tuesday, Jun 9, 2009  |  Updated 3:15 PM CDT
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Be Kind to Your Soon-To-Be Laid Off Crossing Guard

Chicago police officers won't likely have the same comforting feeling about them.

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Be kind to your neighborhood crossing guard, because if a news release issued by their union is correct, nearly 300 Chicago crossing guards, detention aides and traffic control aides could face layoffs next month.

Chicago Breaking News reports that their jobs will be done by Chicago police officers.

"Service Employees International Union Local 73, which represents city civilian public-safety employees, were recently informed by the Chicago Department of Human Resources that 293 workers will receive layoff notices this week that will be effective July 1st," the Web site said.

SEIU officials acknowlege the city's budget problems, but say the move doesn't make financial sense, since police officers have a much higher hourly wage than their union members.

"On top of that, the real tradeoff is public safety," SEIU Local 73 Secretary-Treasurer Matt Brandon said. "These layoffs would take police off the street at a time when the city's murder rate is already way too high."

The Chicago police blogger Second City Cop concurs.

"So we gained 100 officers from the inside spots," he writes, referring to the cops that have been taken off desk-duty to cover the streets, "only to lose 300 to crossings, lockups and traffic patrol?  F*&%#ng brilliant!" (cop talk)

The blogger goes on to say that he suspects the announcement is a ploy -- "a bluff by Shortshanks to get the SEIU to cave on certain negotiating points."

In any case, it could be the kids coming to and from school who'll get the short end of this stick.

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