Chicago’s Mayor Daley just upped the ante with the Teamsters’ strike threat to cripple the Windy City’s snow removal, garbage collection and airport operation services over the mayor’s desire to stop paying people for not working.
Mayor Daley today sloughed off a planned strike-authorization vote by 2,000 Chicago truck drivers, saying he doesn’t believe truckers would risk their “great” jobs by crippling city snow removal, garbage collection and airport operations.
City Hall maintains that the Teamsters union’s contract includes a no-strike clause that gives the city authority to fire those who walk off the job and take civil action against their union.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that 2,000 truck drivers in the city of Chicago’s Departments of Aviation, Streets and Sanitation, Transportation, Water Management and Fleet Management plan to take a strike authorization vote this week to protest Daley’s decision to cut back their hours and “ignore” their contract.
O’Hare and Midway Airport snow-removal drivers affected by one of the mayor’s moves — going from a guaranteed, eight-hour work day to just two hours on days without snow — have said Daley is “punishing” the Teamsters for rejecting his demand for furlough days and compensatory time off instead of cash overtime.
The Teamsters was one of only two hold-out unions. The mayor laid off 141 of its members.
Today, the mayor said the Dec. 15 cutback affecting snow-season truck drivers at O’Hare and Midway had nothing to do with retribution. Instead, he said, it had everything to do with the fact that the airline industry is “really suffering” and can no longer afford to guarantee eight-hour shifts.
“If there’s no snow coming for the next week, they show up and they get two hours a day,” Daley said. “You can’t pay them for eight hours. It’s just impossible…You can’t guarantee someone not to work for eight hours…You just can’t do it — whether in government or in the private sector.
“That’s why I’ve taken 24 days [off] without pay. Many other unions have taken 12 days without pay….When people are suffering, government has to respond.” [Emphasis added.]
So, just to put this into perspective: Chicago’s mayor wants to change the way people are being paid to not work…the union’s response is to threaten to strike and the mayor’s response is ‘go ahead, make my day…’
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine December 23, 1776
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