CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Chicago’s City Council’s Budget Committee has given tentative approval to a contract with more than 30 employee unions.
Surrounded by unionized workers and labor officials, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the agreement is for a five-year contract with COUPE, the Coalition of Unionized Public Employees.
The unions in this coalition are blue-collar workers, including garbage truck and snow plow drivers. Police, firefighters and white-collar employees have separate contracts.
Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, says this is a good deal.
“You have labor peace here for five years, which is a good thing,” he said. “You have folks that do the work in our communities that are going to be respected. Those communities are going to be lifted up, and we’re going to continue to move forward in that manner.”
Emanuel says the agreement respects the interests of the workers who provide services for the city, and does it in a fiscally responsible way.
“One of the items that was driving, I think, a lot of fiscal and financial uncertainty for the city of Chicago, which were healthcare costs, we’ve done it in a way that today our healthcare costs are less than they were five years ago, but ensuring that people still have access to high-quality healthcare.”
The COUPE contracts expired June 30 — which marked the end of a 10-year deal made in 2007 by then-Mayor Richard m. Daley. That deal was designed as part of an effort to prevent any labor strife, as Daley pursued an ultimately failed effort to land the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The City Council is expected to give final approval Wednesday.