Teamsters Reject 10-yr. City Pact

There's a fly in the ointment that threatens to disturb Mayor Daley's carefully crafted plan to guarantee labor peace through the 2016 Summer Olympics.

By a vote of 279-172, Teamsters Local 726 voted Wednesday night to reject the unprecedented, 10-year deal that would lock in the prevailing wage for 8,000 members of the building trades.

The contract apparently fell victim to a power struggle within Local 726. The union represents 2,000 city employees, including truck drivers, equipment dispatchers, foremen, booters, garage attendants and cashiers.

Employees fighting to unseat the union's existing leadership team lobbied against the deal, arguing that it undermines seniority and opens the door for massive layoffs at a time when Daley's new 21st Century Commission is exploring the idea of privatizing garbage collection and the city's water filtration plants.

"We're all truck drivers. We always had citywide seniority. Now, they want to make it departmental seniority. If a guy has 30 years on with Streets and San and they decide to privatize sanitation, all those guys with all those years are gone," said truck driver Vincent Tenuto Jr., who lobbied against the contract and is among those hoping to unseat the union's executive board.

"There's a clause in there that says the mayor could subcontract our jobs out. We want that removed. We have 2,100 jobs in 2007. We expect to have 2,100 jobs in 2017. They're also taking away our seniority so they can put anybody they want wherever they want. It feels like legalized clout."

Jim Franczek, the city's chief negotiator, could not be reached for comment, nor could Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon.

The Teamsters' thumbs-down vote was disclosed hours after Daley bragged to reporters about his ability to guarantee labor peace.

"Many of your articles said, 'This is going to be a very, very difficult year. Oh my God. We've got the CTA unions. We've got the city unions. We have unions from the Board of Education. Oh, there's going to be chaos. There's going to be a crisis. They're not going to work together. There's a difference between the mayor and all these unions,' " Daley said sarcastically.

"What happened? . . . . It all worked out because we sat down with the belief that we can work with our unions -- a 10-year agreement. It's amazing. They want stability. We want stability," he said.

 

Click here to read the article on the Chicago Sun-Times Website.

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