Service Employees International Union Local 1


Mayor Rahm Emanuel:

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently applauded President Obama for “building on the middle class and not short-changing them like Mitt Romney would do.” But unfortunately, short-changing workers is exactly what Emanuel is doing right here in Chicago.

Since Mayor Emanuel took office, he has eliminated many good jobs and outsourced others to companies that pay lower wages and benefits. Now hundreds of janitors and window washers at O'Hare International Airport lost their jobs on December 14, just days before Christmas, because Mayor Emanuel replaced their employer with United Maintenance, a company with a history of undercutting good jobs. Jobs that were full time and family-sustaining will become part time poverty jobs and hundreds of families may be forced onto taxpayer-funded assistance programs.

Chicago already has the third highest poverty rate, the second highest foreclosure rate, and the highest level of racial income disparity of any city in the country. Despite working harder than ever, average Chicagoans are not seeing the fruits of their labor and Mayor Emanuel is making the situation even worse. He’s making it possible for millionaires and profitable corporations to help themselves to even bigger profits at the expense of good middle class jobs for everybody else.

This is not good public policy for the City of Chicago, and it’s not what constituents expect from a Mayor of the City that works. If we hope to restore the balance to our economy and vitality to our neighborhoods, Mayor Emanuel needs to support good jobs that can sustain families—not corporations that exploit hard-working people for profit.

We call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council to pass the Responsible Bidders Ordinance to protect good jobs in our city.

The work performed by dedicated service workers at our public institutions is critical: they ensure that our public buildings are clean and safe. These workers depend upon the Mayor of Chicago to ensure their employer is responsible and upholds the values of this City so they can focus on doing the best job they can. Public contracting should not lead the race to the bottom, but should set the standard for the kind of responsible employment practices that help build a strong workforce and a robust economy. Without a strong middle class, Chicago’s future is bleak.

We urge you to pass the Responsible Bidders Ordinance to ensure that all city contracts are awarded to responsible bidders that provide good jobs with benefits to workers and quality services to Chicagoans.

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