Judge Won’t Reinstate City Traffic Aides

Updated 08/10/11 – 4:14 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — It was a disappointing day in court for more than 70 laid-off City of Chicago traffic aides.

A judge on Wednesday refused to block their dismissals, which the Emanuel administration said are needed to save money.

Judge Rita Novak refused to issue a temporary restraining order, saying the union failed to prove irreparable harm to the workers.

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She said that if the union’s lawsuit fighting the layoffs is successful, the aides would be granted back pay.

Matt Brandon, secretary-treasurer of SEIU Local 73, which represents the workers, disagreed.

“The harm here is irreparable because in the corporate budget … they are eliminating the position of traffic control aide,” Brandon said.

Traffic control aide Elizabeth Diaz, an 18-year city employee, is a single mother with six dependents and, now, no job.

“I have three grandchildren that I have to take care of and when they need something, I’m there for them. And I can’t see them going to school hungry,” she told CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley on Wednesday.

Traffic control aide Lenore Robinson has been fighting breast cancer and no job means no insurance.

“Now I’m on my chemo treatments, and without my insurance, I won’t be able to do it,” she said.

Their stories are typical of the 72 full-time traffic control aides laid off by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on June 29.

The union said those layoffs were improper, with full-time aides allegedly replaced by part-timers.

“We don’t believe that their layoff helps a $600 million budget hole by laying off people who bring in more revenue than they’re being displaced for,” Brandon said.

Tickets written by traffic control aides generate $2.5 million a year in revenue for the city.

The city provided statistics showing they would take in more parking ticket revenue by using Revenue Department workers to write parking tickets downtown — partly because traffic control aides only write tickets when they’re not directing traffic.

The union for the traffic aides will go back to court next week, seeking a preliminary injunction to reverse the layoffs. The legal bar for that request is somewhat lower, so the traffic aides are still hopeful of getting their jobs back.

More from Craig Dellimore
  • Super80

    Another excellent move by Mayor Rahm! Keep it going Rahm. Our city is broke, and we have a lot of overlap in the city workforce! And, a lot of dead weight, too.

  • nora

    Oh man! Now who’s gonna mess up all the traffic during rush hour? You mean people are gonna have to rely on the traffic lights?

    • rivroowalker

      Don’t worry. Idiots like you from the suburbs will mess up downtown traffic without someone telling them to go, stop or turn. Please tell us the critical role you play in making society work. We all can’t wait to hear how important your job is.

  • MG

    They were bs minority handout jobs anyway.

    • rivroowalker

      MG, what does the worker’s race have to do with anything? Are you saying you’d be opposed to the cuts if the majority of the traffic workers were white? I suppose slavery was a minority handout job too. Listen, these workers don’t come down to 7-11 and hassle you while you work the slurpee machine. Cutting spending is great unless the spending being cut directly affects you. Hopefully for you there won’t be any cuts to confederate flag manufacturers, NASCAR apparel makers, frozen corn dog franchises, or Jeff Foxworthy comedy specials. Here’s a dollar. Buy a clue jackhole.

      • rivroowalker

        What bothers me is the racism implicit in your remarks. I live downtown and have seen what morons like you from the suburbs do when you try to drive downtown. Race plays no role in this issue and yet you seem to revel in the fact that traffic control is some kind of welfare program, when in fact it is a necessary component of making traffic move through the downtown gridlock. Enlighten me on why you focus on the race of those who just lost their jobs. Do you only care when white workers are laid off?

      • Benji Patel

        I thought only Indians worked the sacred Slurpee machine! Just sayin……….

      • MG

        They were mostly unnecessary jobs that were mostly held by minorities. That’s a fact. Does the truth bother you?

  • limod

    Traffic aide: my favorite Chicago oxymoron!

  • Patrick Ashe

    well hopefully a lot more people will get hit downtown because we are not down there.

    • NWA

      Please don’t hope that because family members of mine, people I love and also I, go downtown every day.


  • MG

    rivroowalker can’t seem to deal with reality. Again, the jobs are mostly unnecessary (which is why they’re being eliminated) and they’re moslty held by minorities. Case closed.

  • Super80

    Let’s put it this way, if your home budget is way overdrawn, and you have a caretaker (race not important) for your lawn, and you are able to cut your own grass, wouldn’t you do without the hired lawn maintenance luxury to save money? Rahm is simply trying to make the city budget ends meet. It has nothing to do with race.

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