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Chicago Government Jobs in Danger

Posted on July 7, 2009

Several Chicago government jobs are hanging in the balance.

Mayor Richard M. Daley recently announced that 1,500 union city employees will be laid off if labor unions don’t agree to various steps that would reduce the city’s personnel costs. The cuts would result in $76 million in annual salary reductions and would save $34 million this year, including $24 million in the city’s corporate fund. Employees throughout 28 departments will be impacted.

The City Council already approved Daley’s proposal for a series of unpaid furlough days for non-union employees, which will save more than $14 million in the 2009 budget and avoid layoffs for non-unionized staff. Under the proposal, 3,700 employees will have to take 15 unpaid furlough days throughout the rest of the year, including six remaining holidays, six furlough days and three days at the end of the year when the government is closed aside from essential services.

“I have said all along that I never ask any city employee to do something I and the top members of my administration weren’t prepared to do first,” Daley said. “These non-union employees are taking a big financial hit, but we concluded it’s better for people to have a job and be asked to take some reductions than to have no job at all.”

Chicago has been faced with its current budget situation, for the most part, because of the current economic recession. The city has already cut hundreds of millions of dollars in spending through better management, including more than $31 million this year alone.

“But, even with all the cuts we’ve made, our city’s deficit is growing month by month because our revenues have slowed,” Daley added. “Even with better management and reduced spending, we still need the cooperation of our city’s union workers, who make up almost 90 percent of our workforce.”