How many of you know that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is letting public employee unions know that there better be some kind of concessions to union contracts with the city, or he predicts as many as 600 public employees will face layoffs soon.
Emanuel’s proposal seemed to catch some public employee union leaders by surprise and they issued statements indicating that no negotiations have taken place between the city and union representing the city’s unionized workforce. Emanuel said it would not be necessary to do the layoffs if the unions agree to reforms. He noted that if the unions don’t agree to changes in the contracts layoffs will be the only choice left to him on the behalf of the taxpayers.
It’s not exactly the same, but Emanuel’s recent public proclamations are very similar to the ones made by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, New Jersey Governor Chris Christies and Ohio Governor John Kasich. All three governors have signed into law changes in public union contracts to keep their states from going bankrupt and to avoid having to lay off large numbers of public employees.
The dynamics in all these situations are very much the same. Since public employee contracts in many of the cities and states are so generous, even far more generous than the private sector employee contracts, concessions must be made if the cities and states can avoid financial ruin. The difference is that Walker, Christie and Kasich are Republican government officials, and Emanuel, the former chief of staff for President Barack Obama, is a Democrat.
It will be very interesting to see how the liberal advocates in the main stream media report on these new developments in Chicago. In Wisconsin, New Jersey and Ohio, those Republican governors were savaged by some of the vilest commentary I have ever seen on the public air ways. All three were called union busters, and Christie of New Jersey was labeled a Nazi by a state union official with nary an objection from main stream media reporters.
This will be a big challenge for the Democratic cheerleaders in the media. Emanuel is doing what he has to do, just as Walker, Christie and Kasich had to do what they did. Will these biased news reporters actually start reporting on this issue fairly now that it involves a Democratic government or will they, especially those at MSNBC, call Rahm everything from a union buster to a Nazi?
My guess is that they will their best to ignore the story, especially at the national level. Stay tuned.