Hazy Chicago Forecast – Rahm projects $426M shortfall in 2016 budget

By Fran Spielman – Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday released a financial analysis that projects a $426 million budget shortfall in 2016, but only if three rosy and risky assumptions turn out to be correct.

The shortfall does not include a $328 million payment to police and fire pension funds that Emanuel conveniently left out of his pre-election budget. Add that in and the revenue gap grows to $754 million even with the risks the mayor is taking.

“With respect to the city, we’re combing through every vacancy. We zeroed out everybody’s non-personnel budget again. I want to see where that ends. And then, we’re gonna work through all the ideas the aldermen are bringing forward and all the ideas the public is bringing forward before we know where we’re going to land.” read more….

Delay of pension decision rejected

Judge Rita Novak’s ruling means that unless the state Supreme Court quickly steps in, two city pension funds would have to restore higher benefits to retired city workers and take out less money from current workers’ paychecks. The city might also have to make up for reduced benefits since Jan. 1 and return the money already collected to workers who have been paying more into the retirement accounts. read more

City could end trash pickup for larger buildings

By Hal Dardick – Chicago Tribune

The city is poised to stop picking up garbage at more than 1,800 larger apartment buildings under a measure advanced by aldermen Tuesday.

The change would put an end to city garbage hauling for apartment buildings with more than four units that were getting the service under a 15-year exemption. Building owners would have 90 days to find a private trash hauler if the full council approves the plan Wednesday as expected.

It’s unclear how much savings, if any, the city will actually see unless it decides to reduce its Streets and Sanitation payroll. For now, O’Shea and Williams said, workers hauling garbage at larger buildings would be assigned other work, such as trimming trees and cleaning vacant lots and viaducts. Immediate savings would result only from reduced disposal, equipment and fuel costs. read more…..

Walker stumps in Illinois— wild about Rauner, mild about rivals

By Jordan Holman – Chicago Sun-Times

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker brought his Republican presidential bid to Chicago on Monday, declining to attack GOP rivals Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee — while heaping praise on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget policies.

“I hope he stays firm and gets the people, the state of Illinois, on his side,” Walker said of Rauner and his budgetcutting strategy.
Rauner cited Walker as one of his role models when running for governor last year. Both Republicans are known for taking on unions.
Walker said he calls Rauner every few weeks to offer his support in the budget battle, which has been dragging on in Springfield all summer with no end in sight. read more

Why Scott Walker is so dangerous

The Washington Post – By Dana Milbank

“First off,” Scott Walker proclaimed, “we took on the unions, and we won. We won!”
Walker then went on to celebrate his triumphs over the demonstrators who objected to his dismantling of Wisconsin’s public-sector unions, portraying the pro-union forces as violent thugs. “Those big government interests — they believe they can win by intimidating elected officials,” he said. “There were amazing things they did to try to intimidate us. read more…..

Great Meeting at our new location

Great General Membership Meeting tonight at our new location, Whitney Young High School.

Even on such a beautiful summer evening the turnout was very encouraging and with the way the library is set up made for a very casual and relaxed atmosphere.
We hope to see more of you there next month on August 20.

Court: N.J. towns can furlough workers without union talks.

By Ryah Huthins – Politico

Economic reasons are indisputably a legitimate basis for a layoff of any type.
New Jersey’s highest court ruled Tuesday that officials in three municipalities were within their rights to furlough workers at the height of the recession—even without consulting labor unions—because “economic reasons are indisputably a legitimate basis for a layoff of any type.”
The 4-1 decision by the state Supreme Court is a precedent-setting victory for public employers in New Jersey and was immediately condemned by labor leaders.

“There is no room for mandatory negotiation in the determination to reduce a workforce,” Jaynee LaVecchia, a centrist and the longest-serving justice on the court, wrote for the majority. “That is so because such decisions go to the heart of governmental policy determinations about what services are to be provided and how they will be provided to the public. Public managers must be the ones accountable to the people for such substantive policy decisions.”

In a fiery screed against his colleagues, Justice Barry Albin said the ruling erodes existing protections for union-represented workers and should not be taken lightly.

“The majority opinion sweeps away nearly fifty years of this Court’s public-sector labor jurisprudence, giving municipal employers the unilateral power to reduce the wages and hours of public employees promised in collective negotiations agreements,” Albin wrote in his descent. “Before today, the cardinal principle guiding public-sector labor negotiations had been that the wages and hours of public workers are subject to negotiation—not to a public employer’s fiat.” read more

Rauner pension plan would end union negotiations, freeze pay

By Sara Burnett, Associated Press

The legislation would prohibit state employee unions from collective bargaining on issues such as wages, vacation and overtime, and would freeze salaries for five years beginning this month. It would then offer workers the option of getting raises, more vacation or more overtime — but only if they agree to switch to a less-generous pension plan.
Rauner wants to give local governments the ability to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy — an idea he’s pitched as a possible solution to Chicago Public Schools’ financial mess.
Emanuel has said it’s “the wrong thing to do.” Madigan also indicated he opposes the idea. read more

Streets and Sanitation 3rd Quarter Training Opportunity Dates

Streets and Sanitation 3rd Quarter Training Opportunity Dates

Date: Saturday, July 11, 2015

Topic: Customer Service Requests (CSRs)/311 Complaints – How To Enter Them, Look Them Up, and Close Them Out; Management Reports including Alley Times

Time:09:00 hr – 11:00 hr

Location: City Hall Room 1107

Trainer/Contact Person: John Dunn RSVP: Email John Dunn at John.Dunn@cityofchicago.org no later than Thursday, July 9, 2015

Date: Saturday, July 18, 2015

Topic: The Basic Concepts of Chicago Mobile Asset Tracking (CMAT) and Auditing of Worksheets    (GPS vs Worksheet), Microsoft Word 365 and Microsoft Excel 365

Time:  09:00 hr – 11:00 hr

Location: City Hall Room 1107

Trainer/Contact Person: Chris Reiser RSVP: Email Chris Reiser at Christopher.Reiser@cityofchicago.org no later than Thursday, July 16, 2015

Date: Saturday, August 1, 2015

Topic: The Basic Concepts of KRONOS/Time and Attendance System for Editing

Time:  09:00 hr – 11:00 hr

Location: City Hall Room 1107

Trainer/Contact Person: Steve Morales RSVP: Email Steve Morales at Steve.Morales@cityofchicago.org no later than Thursday, July 30, 2015

Parking:  Parking is available at the Streets and Sanitation Lower Randolph facility located at 351 East Lower Randolph or local garages.

All training sessions are voluntary and attendees will not be paid for attendance.  All attendees must RSVP to the appropriate trainer by the close of business on the Thursday before the training.

Classes are open to City of Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation Employees only

Rauner opens up 2nd front vs. unions

JOSE M. OSORIO  – CHICAGO TRIBUNE

As Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner remains locked in a stalemate with Democratic lawmakers over his pro-business, anti-union agenda, he’s opened up a second front, battling the largest state employee union over a new contract.

Also at issue are the governor’s proposals to change the way overtime pay is calculated and to allow the state to circumvent union workers by contracting out to private vendors.

But perhaps the most charged proposal is the one that would halt the state’s long-standing tradition of withholding directly from paychecks union member dues and fees on nonmembers that fund union activities. Currently, that money is deducted along with taxes and health care premiums, and then routed back to the unions. Rauner wants to end that practice, essentially cutting off the regular, predictable flow of money to his union adversaries.

Bob Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said the administration’s demands are “so draconian that they would practically strip away all of the standards and the level of benefits and working conditions and pay that workers are currently experiencing.”

If unions were to agree to Rauner’s terms, they’d “create conditions that wouldn’t even justify having a union in place,” Bruno said. read more….