Labor Unions Split In Race For Mayor

CHICAGO (CBS) — Not long after uniting behind Democrat Pat Quinn in the race for governor, Chicago’s labor unions remain split on who to back as the successor to Mayor Richard M. Daley.

As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, more than 250,000 union members live and work in Chicago and organized labor is hugely influential in local politics.

The unions got together to back Quinn against Republican Bill Brady in November, but haven’t gotten together in the race for mayor of Chicago.

The Teamsters have backed Rahm Emanuel. The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Gery Chico on Wednesday. But, so far, the biggest labor unions have been staying on the sidelines, with little more than a month until the election.

The AFL-CIO said it’s not even sure it’ll make an endorsement.

City Clerk Miguel del Valle got the backing of state Sen. William “Willie” Delgado (D-Chicago), state Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Chicago) on Wednesday.

Emanuel got backing from a handful of community groups in the Pilsen, Little Village and Humboldt Park areas.

But Chico received the most impressive endorsement on Wednesday, winning the backing of the city’s police union.

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police officials packed the announcement, where Chico was asked to compare the endorsement of the FOP to the one Emanuel got yesterday from former President Bill Clinton.

“Well, Bill Clinton doesn’t vote here, to begin with,” Chico said.

But Chicago FOP President Mark Donahue later acknowledged that a poll of union members showed Chico and Emanuel neck-and-neck.

“It was pretty close, yes,” Donahue said.

Emanuel noted that rank-and-file split, as well as other union support he has picked up.

“It is always helpful to have the support of plumbers and pipefitters, Teamsters, of the people of the city of Chicago, members of the Fraternal Order of Police who are in support of your candidacy,” he said.

But some of the largest, most influential unions have yet to weigh in on the race. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, for example, has seemed less than enchanted with Emanuel, and his support from the business community.

“When he was in the Congress, he didn’t have a bad labor record. However, being an executive is different from being in the legislative branch and we have concerns about the direction he wants to take the city,” AFSCME Council 31 President Henry Bayer said.

Bayer, a veteran, savvy, influential labor leader, said there might be concerns with other candidates as well. And he said there’s a possibility AFSCME won’t endorse anyone.

The AFL-CIO has already made lots of other endorsements in aldermanic and citywide races, but its president said the union is taking a wait-and-see attitude on the race for mayor.

  • rich lettiere

    its a shame that the union endorsement means anything. 5% of the people taking money from the other 95% and this is ok. why dont the unions pay their own way; if they want their workers retiring at 50 or 55, with a defined benefit plan, pay for it themselves. the rest of us, who pay their benefits, arent so lucky.

    • D. Meier

      I’m a 20 year member of the Carpenters Union and I still can’t figure out where you get the idea that I’m taking money from the rest of you. My pension is based on the number of hours that I’m lucky enough to work each year, and let me tell you that most union members do not average 40 hours a week, don’t get sick days, don’t get personal days, and don’t get half the holidays that you probably do. I do have a defined benefit plan that both the employers and myself pay into-I sincerely doubt that I cost you a dime

  • NO $HIT Jay!!

    Jay Levine is really a genius……………As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, more than 250,000 union members live and work in Chicago and organized labor is hugely influential in local politics.

    Actually he’s a worthless sack!!!!

  • Maggie

    The citizens of Chicago should elect CHICO Mayor of Chicago. He will make Chicago thrive. Chico has more in common with the unions than any other candidate. He grew up in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. I refuse to believe the media hype about rahm having this race won. Chicago is just another deal for him to purchase and bully through and that is sickening. Wake up Unions! Pick Chico! He’s the best candidate and he will be in your corner in the future. He needs you to build back Chicago. Chico’s your man. His dad worked in the stockyards. He’s earned the job advancement to Mayor. He knows Chicago.

  • patti

    Chico is even worse than Quinn. He will be taxing us through the wazoo to pay back his union endorsements.

  • HelenR

    I have nothing against police officers, firefighters or anyone else in dangerous jobs retiring at 50 or even earlier from active duty, but they should be doing desk work teaching, working in the administration, or something less taxing until 65 to get their full pension and benefits, just like the rest of us. If they want to retire earlier, they need to take a cut. And no double dipping! One pension per person.

    I was seriously considering Mr. Chico, but no longer.

  • Bill

    Don’t be fooled… not every Teamster will be supporting Rahm Emanuel. Some of us can actually think for ourselves. That’s why I will be joining the FOP in casting my vote for a candidate with vision and a realistic plan for pulling Chicago out of the political muck & mud. Just say no to greed and corruption and YES to Gery Chico !
    (Patti, remember to breath, It will help to clear your mind before you speak.)

  • Maggie

    The Unions are an entity unto themselves and need to be understood. They are here to stay and it is better to understand that than make silly accusations. Chico is an honest man. Yes, that is still possible in Chicago. He is a lawyer and very experienced in negotiating and coming to a functional ending that is fair. He did that for years with the Teachers Union. Chico does not live in fairyland and he does not have a fairy godfather in Hollywood. He’s a realist. He has a palpable compassion for Chicago and all it’s people and its success. He will not be a tax nut. Also, patti, so far he only has the large endorsement fo the Chicago Police department. It is rahm who has the teamsters union. There are many unions in chicago. Chico knows families, businesses, everyone is financially hurting. He repeatedly talks about streamlining waste and using money more effectively. He DISAGREED with the recent state tax hike. Gov. Quinn has been a political man for many years. Chico has been a successful private lawyer and businessman, and he has successfullhy held many important top city management positions. It’s really a matter of learning everything about the candidates and for that I want to encourage you to check out GeryChicoformayor website. Chico is the best candidate. He is the best negotiator, has the most experience, and is probably the smartest. Watch and listen to his interviews. He is far above the rest. Chico is who Chicago needs.

  • patti

    NONE of them have produced a realistic plan to pull us out of this muck, least of all that corrupt city hall hack Chico.

    (Bill, remember to keep your unnecessary personal comments to yourself)

  • patti

    Maggie, thank you for the thoughtful response. I’m simply not buying Chico as an agent of change, and I’m not impressed with his politician platitudes and lawyer speak. For all his blathering, there is not one word for how he is going to fund pensions, which leads me to believe he’s going to raise our taxes just like that big liar Quinn. I won’t get fooled again.

  • Bill

    Patti, Patti, Patti… it sure sounds like you have a personal ax to grind. Would you like to tell us about it? Or maybe you can share some of your own ideas for improving the landscape in Chicago. C’mon don’t be afraid. Just tell us what you propose or what you think others should do on your behalf. That shouldn’t be hard for a person who apparently knows so much about everything. Maybe we should all vote for Patti ?

    • Jim

      Bill, I’m sure you are a state worker with a big fat pension coming to you. Patti sounds like most overtaxed residents in this state. Open your ears for a change buddy.

  • Sgt Friday

    …well now the FOP owns him….
    Just the facts….

  • Jim

    I have a great idea, VOTE FOR ANYONE THAT THE UNIONS DO NOT ENDORSE! The unions are corrupt and want every dollar they can squeeze out of you to redistribute to their rich workers. Unions have they places, but not for 99% of their current areas. Unions have politicians in their pockets so it’s up to us voters to make a difference. I want to be proud of Chicago someday, not have us the corruption capital of the US. In the words of the unions, we need to do this for the children!

  • patti

    Bill, Bill, Bill, you’re the one who insists on making it personal. I gave my opinion, just like you did. You seem to think we all have to agree with and impress the almighty Bill. Maybe we should all vote for you. You sound as arrogant as the rest of the politicians.

  • patti

    Jim, unions are necessary. It’s just a shame that so many of them have been corrupted right along with the politicians they support. They need to start caring about the taxpayers, not playing this “I got mine, to hell with everyone else” game. They make not think that, but that’s how it feels to this taxpayer. I don’t think it’s too much to ask those fortunate enough to have pensions to take a small cut and increase the retirement age by a couple years to help out the city and the taxpayers, and I won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t have the guts to tell them and us the truth. I may just have to sit out this election. I’m still feeling the sting of having voted for Quinn. Never again.

  • jesse jr.

    Chico was Daley’s chief of staff,at the the CHICAGO

  • Stevie Janowski

    City employees and other union members that collect pensions are among the few people that make up the middle class in Chicago. Don’t pay people pensions, the small middle class that live in this city with families will disappear forever. All that will remain is north side yuppies that live in the city for a few years, have kids and leave for the suburbs immediately. The rest of the city will be poor slums. Rahm wants to cut pensions…the middle class will find jobs elsewhere.

  • Stevie Janowski

    Unions are corrupt??? But private industry is not????? Enron, Worldcom, Tyco and the list goes on and on!

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