Emanuel property tax exemption could reap political benefits even if it fails

Hal Dardick and Bill Ruthhart –Chicago Tribune

Emanuel’s idea is to create a new exemption that would shield the owners of homes worth $250,000 or less from paying the city more in property taxes as a result of the mayor’s hike, said a source familiar with the proposal but not authorized to speak publicly. For more expensive homes, the property tax bill would go up, but less than it otherwise would have without the exemption, the source said.

But to do it, Emanuel needs help from Springfield, which has ground to a halt amid partisan bickering over the state budget and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s pro-business, union-weakening agenda. Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton are working with Emanuel on the property tax exemption details, legislative aides said Monday.

Even if the measure should pass, it’s unlikely Rauner would agree to it. The governor wants a two-year, statewide property tax freeze, and signing off on Emanuel’s plan for an exemption would be akin to enabling a massive property tax hike by providing political cover for the mayor. read more…….

GOP candidate Walker proposes vast restrictions on unions

Chicago Sun-Times – Associated Press

Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker on Monday will call for sweeping restrictions on organized labor in the U.S., seeking to replicate nationwide his successful effort as Wisconsin’s governor to curb the power of unions.

At a town hall meeting in Las Vegas, Walker will propose:

• Eliminating unions for employees of the federal government.
• Making all workplaces right-to-work unless individual states vote otherwise.
• Scrapping the federal agency that oversees unfair labor practices.
• Making it more difficult for unions to organize.

Many of Walker’s proposals are focused on unions for workers at all levels of government, while others would also affect private-sector unions. Labor law experts said such an effort, if successful, would substantially reduce the power of organized labor in America.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Ann Hodges, a professor at the University of Richmond who has studied labor law for more than 40 years. “This will take the breath away from anyone who’s worked in labor relations for any length of time. . . . It’s pretty draconian.”  read more…...

8th Ward Back To School Parade and Jamboree…

Even a little rain doesn’t stop the Ladies of Labor from Local 1001.

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The annual 8th Ward Back to School Parade and Jamboree on Saturday, September 12, 2015.

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The Ladies of Labor from Local 1001 were proudly out marching in the event on Saturday and stopped to have a photo taken with the events sponsor 8th Ward Alderman and Committeeman Michelle A. Harris. (above)

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The Parade began at the 8th Ward Office, proceeded down 87th Street, and culminated at Jesse Owens Park.

Rahm completes 3- year phaseout of retiree subsidy for health care

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES  – By Fran Spielman

For those who retired on or after July 1, 2005, the subsidy will also be cut in half and vary with longevity. It’ll go from 20 to 25 percent to 10 to 12.5 percent.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has already ordered sharply higher health care contributions from 313 City Hall bureaucrats, including himself.

On Friday, the mayor lowered the boom on retirees by completing a three- year phaseout of the city’s 55 percent subsidy for retiree health care and assuming that a lawsuit that seeks to reinstate the subsidy of $ 108.7million a year falls flat. read more…..

Emanuel’s floor leader acknowledges mounting opposition to garbage fee

By Fran Spielman – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Council floor leader acknowledged Thursday that opposition is mounting to a suburban-style garbage collection fee — so much so that the mayor just might have to trash it.

Ald. Patrick O’Connor (40th) said he’s fairly confident he’ll be able to line up the 26 votes needed to pass a $500 million property tax increase for police and fire pensions and school construction.

But the alderman said he is not at all certain about Emanuel’s plan to impose a monthly garbage collection fee of between $11 and $12 per household. That’s even though 40 percent of all Chicago households already pay for private scavengers to pick up their garbage. read more…..

CDOT LiUNA LOCAL 1001 Members do it again

Once again the hard working men and women of LiUNA Laborers’ Local 1001 step up and get the job done for the City of Chicago Department of Transportation.

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This morning the Mayor announced more than 150 miles of city roads have been paved so far in 2015, putting the City beyond the halfway point to fulfilling the Mayor’s commitment of paving 300 miles of city roads each year.
Since the Mayor took office the city has paved more than 1,300 miles of roads – the equivalent of paving from Chicago to Albuquerque, NM – or more than a quarter of the city’s roads.

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And we are proud to say that all of it was done with Union Laborers!

read the press release…...

Mayor tinkers with garbage pickup schedule

By John Byrne – Chicago Tribune
As he prepares to levy a suburban-style garbage pickup fee on Chicago residents, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is announcing changes in the way the city collects trash.
Emanuel’s office said the adjustments to the garbage grid will result in efficiencies that will cut the cost of trash pickup by $7 million in 2016.
That reduction will not shrink the city’s yawning deficit — which Emanuel plans to help close with a property tax increase of between $450 million and $550 million — because the Department of Streets and Sanitation “will redirect the savings into other city services,” according to the mayor’s office. read more…..

Emanuel adjusts garbage grid to save $7M before imposing fee

By Fran Spielman – CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

“With the partnership of Laborers Local 1001, the grid system has enabled the city to continue providing quality garbage collection services while redirecting $28 million in operating costs to support the citywide recycling and other key DSS Services,” the mayor said in a news release. “We remain committed to respecting Chicago’s hardworking taxpayers by delivering quality neighborhood services in the smartest and most efficient manner to hold down their costs.”

Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams added, “We’ve been working with Laborers Local 1001 to evaluate many variables like the amount of time crews were spending on routes and daily tonnage reports, as well as implementing many of the recommendations provided by the Office of the Inspector General, which has resulted in these additional modifications that will further improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the program.” read more……

THE LABORER – A THOUGHT FOR LABOR DAY

I, like so many before me, am a part of the skilled labor force of this great country of ours. In fact, going back to almost the turn of the last century, my relatives have been a part of the working men and women who helped build our infrastructure.

In my youth I never realized the tradition that I had embraced by choosing this road. I often wonder, like so many of us, should I have taken another path? Should I have gone on to become a lawyer or a doctor, like most parents wish for their children. Children who have seen the struggle and hardship that so many ordinary working families do.

I am proud to have been given the opportunity to walk in my ancestor’s footsteps. But I am the last of a breed, the end of the line. My other family members and siblings have chosen another road, the road of white collars and wingtip shoes. And for them, now maybe for the very first time, I feel a sense of sorrow in my heart, because I have something that they will never experience. The sweat, the pain, the cold hands and the aching feet, the thought of the work day being just a little while longer, and then the relief and immense pride felt when the job is done. A feeling that only those of us who have actually been there can feel. The sense of accomplishment that not even the CEO of the biggest corporation can ever experience.

In the early days being a worker on the railroads, the tunnels or the bridges was a way for our immigrant ancestors to attain a better life for themselves and their families. Their sense of hard work was only surpassed by their great sense of pride in what they had built. Many of our ancestors never made it out of those trenches or off those bridges or tracks, and for them I feel a deep sense of grief. Knowing now how hard they worked to build this country and to build a life for their families is somehow lost in the new age of technology.

It’s not brain surgery or biochemistry but what we do every day with our hands and our backs is something that only we can truly understand.

I must admit that for many years I was frustrated and bitter for making the choice that I made. Wanting what so many around me had gotten because of their interest in being the one who chooses the color, not paints the house.

I really didn’t understand how lucky I was!

To see a road built is fine but knowing that I helped build it is something that doesn’t fade quickly. The architect who draws the building is featured in magazines but the men and women who actually build it are never asked, never told, never seen, as the true artist. That building is much more theirs, than the man who put the drawings on paper.

Yes, most times it is an unrecognized effort by those who are looking for nothing more than an honest living and a means to support their families.

Yet can it be any different? Probably not, but I don’t think that really matters to many of us. You see, we know we were there, we know how much sweat and pain it took and we know when we look up at that building that those who went before us are looking on and cheering, “Good Job!”

I am sure they can see the fruits of my labor and theirs, and I often wonder if the feelings I have in my heart are those of all who came before me. Feelings swelled like a great big ball, the fiery emotions of friendships and toil, laughter and hardship, combined with spirited globs of heartaches, smiles, tears and cheers. One can only take faith that this has been their gift to me.

I sometimes wonder if our fathers, grandfathers, brothers and sisters are up there looking on and smiling about how far we have come and how much we have accomplished.

But most of all, I wonder if they are proud of me. Proud of the work I have done, of what I have built and what I have yet to build. Proud to see that the road they chose to travel has once again been traveled by one of their own.

The thought of their pride is what drives me even harder every day.

To all of those who came before me I say “Thank you”.

And to all of you I say, “I am Proud to be a Laborer”.

What “Right-To-Work” States Look Like

WRITTEN BY MAX RUST – Chicago Sun-Times

Gov. Bruce Rauner isn’t the only Midwestern politician seeking to enact “right-to-work” legislation.

In Missouri, Republican House members are deciding whether to try to override a recent veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon of right-to-work” legislation. In Kentucky, which has a gubernatorial election in November, Republican Matt Bevin has made passing such a law a keystone of his campaign.

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If right-to-work becomes the law in those two states, Illinois would be an island surrounded by right-to-work states, most of them recently adopted. read more……

On Labor Day – LiUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan

Dear Members,

On Labor Day, it is time to reflect on all those who worked, fought, struggled, sacrificed, and even laid down their lives for justice in the work place. For both Americans and Canadians, it is a day to think about, honor, and thank the blue-collar men and women who keep both of our countries running. Labor Day is about recognizing the dignity of hard work and those who do it.

LIUNA members are not only the greatest asset of our union; they, and all workers, are the lifeblood of our two nations.

Labor Day is a time to recognize those who are frequently overlooked: the working class heroes who labor, day in and day out, at jobs that are essential to our lives, our economy, and our world. Increasingly, workers and their families are losing economic ground and political power, while being dismissed and disparaged by many policy-making elites.

This Labor Day, let’s resolve to start turning things around. Let’s push our elected officials to stop playing political games and start passing legislation to move our nations forward, create jobs, and solve problems. And let’s truly honor working men and women by respecting them, thanking them, and strengthening their rights to band together and bargain for better pay, benefits, and working conditions.

With kind regards, I am

Fraternally yours,

TERRY O’SULLIVAN
General President

Road to record Emanuel tax hike paved by delays, ‘gimmicks’

Against that dire backdrop, the mayor is prepared this month to call for a $500 million property tax hike. On top of that, Emanuel plans to seek a host of new taxes and fees, including asking homeowners to start paying to have their garbage hauled away.

“I don’t think it’s ever been this bleak,” Ald. Patrick O’Connor, the mayor’s City Council floor leader, said of the city’s financial health since he took office in 1983. “I clearly think the mayor has some bad choices (to make).”

How deep is the money pit? If Emanuel and aldermen were to use property taxes just to cover what they plan to pay into city workers’ pension funds the next six years, they’d have to more than double the city property tax to come up with the more than $850 million a year it would take.

“There’s definitely some tough choices that have to be made and some work to do, and this year I think is going to be a real important year to determine whether we’re actually doing that or not,” said Ald. Joe Moore, 49th. “It’s a come-to-Jesus point.” read more…….

Aldermen question Emanuel’s plan to implement garbage collection fee

WRITTEN BY FRAN SPIELMAN – CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

African-American aldermen have urged Mayor Rahm Emanuel to trash plans to impose a garbage collection fee on grounds it will leave some neighborhoods filthy, breed widespread avoidance and cost laborers their jobs.

The chairman of the City Council’s Hispanic Caucus is saying it would be “very difficult to do both” a garbage fee and a $500 million property tax increase that amounts to a “double-whammy” on homeowners.

Now, an aldermen who once served as a deputy commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Streets and Sanitation is questioning the mayor’s plan to implement the suburban-style fee.

Southwest Side Ald. Mike Zalewski (23rd) said Emanuel’s decision to bypass an annual fee on every 96-gallon black cart, in favor of a  monthly assessment of $11-to-$12-per household is fundamentally unfair.

Zalewski is intimately familiar with garbage collection, having run the Bureau of Sanitation, which overseas the pivotal service. He argued that the mayor’s plan lets homeowners who stockpile carts off too easy.  read more…….

Rauner prevails on major labor bill as Madigan fails to muster votes

MONIQUE GARCIA, RICK PEARSON, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Gov. Bruce Rauner scored the biggest legislative win of his short tenure on Wednesday when Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan fell three votes short in a bid to override the governor’s veto of a major labor bill.
Amid a high-stakes battle against a governor who has made weakening unions a cornerstone of his agenda, Democrats and their allies in organized labor were unable to prevail on legislation that would send stalemated state contract talks with union workers to arbitration if an impasse is reached. read more….

Emanuel to seek $500 million property tax hike

WRITTEN BY FRAN SPIELMAN – CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is poised to raise property taxes by $500 million for police and fire pensions and school construction and impose a garbage-collection fee to generate $100 million more, City Hall sources said Wednesday.

The $500 million property tax increase will cost the owner of a home valued at $250,000 roughly $500 more each year. The garbage fee — widely viewed as a back-door property-tax hike — will be a monthly assessment of roughly $11 to $12 per household.  read more…….

Bid/Job Announcement AOS I

CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF AVIATION

AIRPORT OPERATIONS SUPERVISOR I – MIDWAY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

NUMBER OF VACANCIES: 2

Location:  Midway International Airport
Address:  AMC Building, 6200 S. Laramie Avenue, Chicago

Shift: Varies

Hours/Days Off: Vary

Qualifications

Two years of airfield operations work experience, or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience. A valid State of Illinois driver’s license is required. Must obtain airfield certification within six months of hire.

Work environment requires the ability to operate an SUV and truck and requires the ability to climb two flights of stairs through a narrow passageway. Some lifting (up to 25 pounds) is required.

Apply online here…

BIG WEEK IN RAUNER VS. LABOR BATTLE

By Natasha Korcki – Chicago SunTimes

A colossal battle is looming in Springfield this week. It’s not over the budget, raising taxes, giving money to disabled adults or bailing out Chicago Public Schools.

No, this is pure Illinois labor vs. Gov. Bruce Rauner.
It distills a year’s worth of acrimony between the bitter rivals into one vote in the Illinois House, expected to come Wednesday.
At issue is whether House Democrats follow the Senate’s lead and override a Rauner veto of legislation that strips some of the governor’s negotiating powers in public sector union contracts. They’ll need a three-fifths majority to do that.

In a memo to its members, it said Rauner wanted to freeze wages, step raises, cut holiday and vacation, change overtime calculations, move workers to a less attractive pension system and make costly changes to employee and retiree health insurance plans.

The legislation affects collectivebargaining agreements ending by June 30, 2019. read more……

African-American aldermen want Emanuel to trash plans for garbage fee

By Fran Spielman – SunTimes

African-American aldermen are urging Mayor Rahm Emanuel to trash plans to impose a suburban-style garbage collection fee on grounds it will leave some neighborhoods filthy, breed widespread avoidance and, possibly, cost laborers their jobs.

In Chicago, the Department of Streets and Sanitation still operates with three employees on a truck. Unless work rules are changed or garbage collection is privatized, costs would be higher, but the first-ever fees would have to be lower. read more……

In landmark case, labor board will let more workers bargain with their employer’s employer

By Lydia DePillis – The Washington Post

A federal labor board voted Thursday to redefine the employee-employer relationship granting new bargaining powers to workers caught up in an economy increasingly reliant on subcontractors, franchisees and temporary staffing agencies.

In a case that drew intense lobbying by both business and union groups, Democratic appointees on the panel split 3-2 with Republicans to adopt a more expansive definition of what it means to be an “joint employer,” making it more difficult for companies to avoid responsibility through various forms of outsourcing.

The issue has not just been a bone of contention between unions and employers. It also created sharp disagreements within the labor board: The two Republican appointees authored a blistering dissent, alleging that the new standard goes beyond the body’s authority and could affect a vast swath of new employers. read more…..

Chicago can cut hundreds of millions from its budget: Here’s how

By: GEORGE CARDENAS  – CRAIN’S CHICAGO BUSINESS

Chicago’s future will continue to be uncertain if we do not address our structural imbalances and looming debt. It is imperative that the city take immediate steps to fix our budget woes. The markets will not wait, and taxpayers can’t afford it either.

There are several paths to stability. Enacting the following changes could save $613 million this year alone.

Create an enterprise fund for the Department of Streets and Sanitation. I oppose privatization. The way to avoid this long term is with an enterprise fund model, which would free $116 million a year from the corporate fund. If Streets and Sanitation charged $10 a month per single-family unit in a home, it would fund its own budget. In addition, the department could generate additional revenue by enforcing lot pickup, tire pickup and bulk pickup fees among other violations.

read more……

MEMORANDUM – Cart Inventory – 90 Day Detail

The Cart Inventory Section is seeking volunteers, for a 90 day assignment, that will begin on August 31, 2015.

To: All Bureau of Sanitation Refuse Laborers

The Cart Inventory Section is seeking volunteers, for a 90 day assignment, that will begin on August 31, 2015. Three volunteers will be chosen from each Division by seniority. If there are not enough volunteers to fill the assignment, reverse seniority will be used. All requests should be submitted to Pearlesa Ford, in room 1107, City Hall, by the close of business Wednesday, August 26, 2015.

Please note that all volunteers must be able to use a mobile hand-held data device.

Official DSS Memo

Chicago Building Trades Labor Mass

Please join us in honoring the

deceased men and women of the building trades.

The Chicago & Cook County

Building & Construction Trades Council will host the

75th Annual All Faiths Memorial Service

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church

8404 Cass Avenue

Darien, IL

10:00 A.M.

Everyone is Welcome!

Public pension shocker: Shutting a pension plan actually costs taxpayers money – LA Times

Michael Hiltzik – LOS ANGELES TIMES

Amid the nationwide panic over the rising costs of public employee pensions, one proposed solution is nearly universal: States and municipalities should shutter their traditional defined benefit plans and place all new employees in a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan instead.

That’s the idea in a proposed California ballot initiative we reported on last week. The measure, which would end defined benefit plans for new employees as of Jan. 1, 2019, was praised by the Wall Street Journal as one that would “end defined-benefit pensions and save taxpayers billions of dollars.”

As it turns out, the Journal — and the drafters of the initiative — have the math exactly wrong. The experience of states that did exactly that shows that taking these steps sharply increases pension costs to taxpayers while providing employees with markedly poorer retirement benefits.
The evidence comes from a study by the National Institute on Retirement Security, whose board and advisors comprise officials of public pension agencies and leading academic experts on pension economics. The study examined the experience of West Virginia, Michigan and Alaska, each of which responded to rapidly rising unfunded liabilities in their defined benefit public pension funds by closing those plans and placing new employees in defined contribution plans. read more……

Chicago homeowners likely to pay for garbage pickup soon

Written by Fran Spielman – Chicago Sun-Times

Suburbanites have grown accustomed to paying a garbage-collection fee in addition to their property tax bill. It looks like Chicagoans will soon face a similar pain in the wallet.

One week after his budget team held closed-door meetings with aldermen, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is all but saying that a garbage-collection fee is coming to Chicago.

Struggling to solve a $30 billion pension crisis that has dropped the city’s bond rating to junk status, Emanuel needs $754 million in new revenue to balance his 2016 budget and shore up police and fire pensions, even under the best-case scenario. read more…..

Protect your paycheck and benefits, top the 40% health care tax

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Dear Member,

You may not have heard of the 40% benefits tax, also known as the “Cadillac” tax, but it’s a penalty built into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that could affect your paycheck and health care benefits in 2018 if not sooner.  It’s urgent that Congress repeal this tax because it could destroy the health and welfare funds of millions of workers, including you and your LIUNA brothers and sisters.

Tell Congress there is nothing affordable about the 40% benefits tax on health care!

The tax was intended to discourage overly generous and unnecessary plans. But there are unintended consequences for all workers, with union members taking the brunt of it.

As insurance premiums continue to rise, many quality mid-range plans will be subject to the tax – unless benefits and the quality of care are slashed or the plans shut down entirely. Because LIUNA members and other union workers have struggled and sacrificed for years to build quality healthcare plans, ours plans could face cuts sooner rather than later.

Two bills in the U.S. House of Representatives– one championed by Democratic Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut and one by Republican Rep. Frank Guinta of New Hampshire – would repeal the tax. Let’s keep up the momentum by urging the Senate to repeal this harmful tax

The 40 percent benefits tax doesn’t reform healthcare, it punishes responsible employers and workers who for generations have paid for quality health care coverage. Employers are already considering ways to slash benefits to avoid the tax.

Members of Congress are back in their districts until the end of August and they need to hear from you on this critical issue. Send a message to your Senators and urge them to introduce legislation to repeal the taxSenator Heller (R- NV) is planning on introducing legislation early in September.  We need Democrats to show leadership and join him in introducing this important piece of legislation. 

The stakes are high for LIUNA families and millions of fellow workers. This tax threatens to unravel our nation’s employer-sponsored health system that covers 150 million Americans

With kind regards, I am

Fraternally yours,

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TERRY O’SULLIVAN
General President 

Poll: Americans’ view of labor unions improving

Nearly six in 10 Americans have a favorable view of labor unions, according to the results of a new Gallup survey released Monday.

Approval of unions jumped to 58 percent this year, an increase of five percentage points from 2014, though still well below the 75 percent organized labor enjoyed in the early 1950s but greater than the 48 percent who approved in 2009 in the grips of the recession.