Barely six weeks after his inauguration as mayor, Rahm Emanuel faced his first open dispute Wednesday with a unionized workforce that largely opposed his candidacy.
In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, labor officials responded testily to Emanuel’s public threat earlier in the day to lay off hundreds of city workers unless their unions accept his demands for unspecified “work rule changes and efficiencies.”
Emanuel said his proposal would save the city $20 million, and its rejection would force him to lay off more than 600 city workers, but labor leaders shot back that the plan was “unacceptable.”
The impasse came as a two-year contract concession agreement with city worker unions was set to expire Thursday. Under the deal, forged by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2009, workers took as many as 24 unpaid days off work each year and gave up overtime pay and wage increases.