More of Rahm's Union Troubles

-By Warner Todd Huston

In the race for the Chicago Mayor’s office we have seen quite a lot of evidence that Chicago’s union bosses are not big Rahm Emanuelites. This week we got another hint in that direction as several more unions came out in support of Emanuel’s most serious opponent, Gery Chico.

The Chico campaign added a group of Chicago unions to its previous announcement of endorsements from the Chicago Firefighters and Police unions, a growing coalition that Chico says shows that he has “growing momentum with working families.”

Labor organizations that endorsed Chico today include the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 9, Sheet Metal Workers Local 73, Ironworkers Local 1, Laborers’ District Council of Chicago & Vicinity, Painters District Council #14 and the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers Local 11, together whose membership encompasses more than 60,000 hard working men and women in the Chicagoland area.

It is interesting to see the unions shy from the Emanuel campaign since Rahm is the presumed heir apparent to the Daley crown not to mention that Rahm has Barack Obama’s overt support. The air of a winner coupled with the favor of a Democrat president is usually more than enough to get unions to line up like good little lemmings. But this is clearly not the case with Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel isn’t helping himself out on this count, either. Recently, for instance, he seemed to be attacking the teachers union and he has had a history of antagonism with unions in the past.

His newest TV ad also doesn’t instill happy thoughts in the unions. His ad seems to castigate the city’s public employee unions.

“City government is not an employment agency,” it begins:

Full Text:

City government is not an employment agency. It is delivering a service to the residents and the taxpayers of the city. I want that mind-set to be different. We’re going to deliver a service to the taxpayers. We’re going to give them the best price for what they pay for, whether that’s protecting a street, cleaning a street, plowing a street. And that means making sure that everybody that works for the city government knows that they’re actually a public servant representing and helping the people that pay them.

Right away, opponent Chico took advantage of this. At a Chico event Jim Sweeney, president of Operating Engineers Local 150, said, “Somehow Chicago employees have become the demons in this election.”

Emanuel has even had one of his former campaign minions set up a campaign fund to start buying up Aldermen to get ahead of a similar plan by union operatives.

This is an altogether interesting situation, indeed. The Democrat frontrunner for a Democrat seat in a Democrat city is not being embraced by unions. Interesting indeed.


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  • Even government employees can (should) surely see they are not known for their productivity and excellent customer service. We'd all be better off if they'd own up to it like Domino's Pizza, then work at earning a better reputation. Same for unions.

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