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Mayor Wants Deal To Keep Libraries Open On Monday

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Library Generic (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Library Generic (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A deal between the Chicago public library’s union and city leaders might lead Mayor Emanuel to rescind the newly announced plan to start closing most libraries all day on Mondays.

WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he made it clear from the start that his earlier plan to close most libraries in the mornings on Monday and Friday when kids are in school, depended on an agreement from organized labor on more flexible hours.

Without that deal, the city will close libraries all day on Monday to save money.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Craig Dellimore Reports

The closings were part of an overall city budget cutback plan passed by aldermen recently. The reduced hours along with library staff layoffs would save about $3 million.

There’s been no agreement, but on Friday the mayor said there is still time before Monday.

“I expect labor to be a partner in better managing the time because it’s about the people we serve in the communities and not about them and not about me,” the mayor said at an event in West Humboldt Park.

“Other cities are closing libraries Chicago is not closing libraries,” the mayor said.

But, right now, they will close on Mondays, unless a deal can be reached.

Anders Lindall, a spokesman for AFSCME Council 31 representing the 176 library employees, acknowledged that the union is negotiating with the city. But, he categorically denied that the union had forced the city’s hand.

“Whether a reduction in hours comes for four hours on two days a week or eight hours on one day is not acceptable to people of the city who want and deserve access to their libraries at all times. They shouldn’t be forced to accept reduced access,” Lindall said.

“We haven’t seen a proposal from the city that would prevent those reduced hours. We’ve had discussions. Those discussions continue. We hope to reach an agreement to prevent reduced hours and rescind the layoffs.”

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report

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