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Chicago Wed Jun 29 2011

Emanuel: Chicago has Created Jobs but Threatens Layoffs

Mayor Rahm Emanuel pitched a room of more than 700 leaders from businesses, nonprofits, and government at the opening session of CGI America on Chicago's plan to create jobs in the city.

Prior to the speech it seems the Mayor has threatened to layoff hundreds of public employees pitting the value of public sector versus private.

The Sun Times reports:

Eager to avoid job cuts but more determined to solve a budget crisis, Mayor Rahm Emanuel posed a painful choice for organized labor: face 625 layoffs or sign off on $20 million in work-rule changes by midnight Thursday.

Emanuel said he has identified the 625 employees "as a precautionary measure," but he refused to identify them, nor would he reveal what city services might be reduced, eliminated or privatized.

People's jobs sit in the balance and evidently on a list to potentially be fired by the new mayor. Not in the balance is any talk of increasing revenue to reflect the true cost of city services.

The threatened layoffs came just prior to Emanuel's speech in the Sheridan Hotel touting the creation of 3600 private sector jobs in Chicago. Wearing a city pin, he boasted about the feat in a mere 41 days on the job. Three-hundred e-commerce jobs from Wallgreens here and 400 from Motorola there.

Any hint of irony seemed to be lost on the Mayor's face. Is it possible that he sees it as a net positive?

Asked repeatedly whether layoff notices would be going out at midnight Thursday, Emanuel would only say, "We are collectively as a city on a deadline and I'm gonna operate accordingly. ... I'm not gonna just sit here and wait."

Thousands of job cuts and a two-year hiring freeze during the Daley have already had a dramatic impact on city housekeeping services. The cuts have forced the Department of Streets and Sanitation to choose between street sweeping, tree trimming and rodent control, among other services.

If you are a public employee look out on Thursday night. Your pink slip could be coming.


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