FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2012
As Mayor Emanuel Discusses his Budget Proposal…
City Looks for Cost Savings in Workers’ Pockets, Outsources to Irresponsible Contractor Removed by Cook County Health & Hospital System
Chicago—Disregarding the long-established history of holding town halls to allow public input on the budget, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget is taking a page out of the Romney austerity economic plan, closing the $298 million budget shortfall by cutting good paying jobs in the midst of a fragile economic recovery. This is not the first time the City has looked to workers’ wages and good jobs to cut costs: this summer the City hired a cleaning contractor removed from its contract by the County last week.
On Friday, the Cook County Health and Hospital System (CCHHS) Board of Directors voted to break its contract with Dayspring Professional Janitorial Company (Dayspring), a company recently hired by the City of Chicago despite evidence of irresponsible business practices and a failure to meet contract requirements.
Dayspring was able to get the contract with the City of Chicago because of the work they did for Cook County. But Dayspring failed to pay the minimum standards for wages, health insurance, pension and paid vacation required by its contract with CCHHS. Dayspring was also unable to maintain adequate staffing levels to clean nine County clinics. When the City of Chicago awarded a janitorial contract to Dayspring to cut costs, good jobs with decent wages and health insurance became low-wage, no benefit jobs—a practice which violates Dayspring’s contract with the City and hurts our economy.
“After years of dealing with this company’s irresponsible practices, we applaud the CCHHS Board for finding Dayspring not fit for tax payers’ dollars. It’s time for the City to do the same,” said Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1.
If the mayor accepts a recommendation from the Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) report on savings and revenue options, City buildings would no longer be cleaned on a daily basis and hundreds of outsourced City janitors would lose their jobs. The report offers $1.176 billion in cuts from the City’s annual budget – some of which would be realized in the loss of Chicago jobs – while the Mayor does away with open public input to the process.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been under fire lately for cutting costs at the expense of working families and without consideration of broad negative consequences. During the teachers’ strike, pundits speculated on how his tarnished reputation as a Democrat would harm President Obama’s re-election campaign. Obama has recently been lamenting the cuts in state and local governments and how they contribute to weakening the economy—and Mayor Emanuel is doing just that. For example, the mayor is deliberating billions in budget cuts after unveiling a costly new initiative to install wireless internet in city parks and a super high-speed network for business users in commercial corridors.
SEIU Local 1 unites 50,000 property service workers in the central United States, including janitors, security officers and residential doormen. Together we work to build strength for all working people, on the job and in our communities.