-By Warner Todd Huston
Most Chicagoans are assuming that former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will become the next mayor of Chicago. But while the perception might satisfy many folks in the Windy City, at least one powerful Democratic sector isn’t so sure they are happy with the whole idea. Chicago’s union leaders are not very fond of the distempered former Chief of Staff.
Big Labor has been put off on Emanuel since he helped Bill Clinton get the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) passed in the 1990s when Emanuel was a Congressman from Chicago’s 5th District. Emanuel also has a history of dissing Big Labor. At least he’s put other interests ahead of Big Labor enough times that labor leaders are not overly fond of the diminutive candidate.
A book about the Obama White House by Steven Ratner, Overhaul, even quoted Emanuel as saying, “**** the UAW,” when the president was discussion the autoworker’s union in a cabinet meeting.
Bloomberg had an interesting piece delineating all the many labor leaders that are wary of Rahm Emanuel’s bid for Chicago’s mayor. But even as all this speculation on whether or not labor will warm to Emanuel really depends on his poll numbers when you get right down to it.
After all, labor understands that Emanuel will be with them most of the time anyway. If Emanuel looks like a strong horse in the race, they will swallow their qualms and pump in cash and workers to get him elected.
I don’t think anyone need fear that Rahm won’t get any union backing here.