Cook County budget plan threatens jobs and services
The Preckwinkle Administration’s proposed FY17 Cook County budget has a shortfall of $133 million. If this budget hole isn’t filled, the Administration is projecting 400-500 layoffs and cutbacks in vital programs, primarily in areas of County government related to public safety (jail, courts, probation, etc.).
President Preckwinkle has proposed a tax on sweetened beverages to raise the revenues needed to prevent these layoffs.
AFSCME fully supports the beverage tax or other revenue-raising measures. However, even if the Cook County Board acts to raise sufficient revenues to halt the public safety cuts, the budget as proposed would still harm services and jobs in three key respects:
- The Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) is planning to lay off more than 200 employees—at the same time that it hires 400 NEW employees. These layoffs will disrupt the system’s operations and harm dedicated long-term employees.
- The Medical Examiner’s Office is planning to privatize the Toxicology Lab, forcing the layoff of more than 18 staff and jeopardizing the quality of the vital work this lab performs.
- There is no additional staff for the Public Defender’s office, even though its caseload has been steadily rising. The backlog contributes to longer stays in Cook County’s already overcrowded jail.
AFSCME is fighting against the CCHHS layoffs and MEO privatization, and supporting the Public Defender’s request for additional staff.
All AFSCME members who work for Cook County are encouraged to call their county Commissioner to tell him or her there should be NO LAYOFFS of county employees. Urge Commissioners to vote in support of the beverage tax and to speak out against the Health System job cuts and the Medical Examiner privatization.
AFSCME will present testimony against the layoffs at the following county budget hearings:
Downtown: Monday, Oct. 31, 9:00 a.m.
Cook County Building, Room 569
118 N Clark St., Chicago
Maywood: Tuesday, Nov. 1, 6:30 p.m.
Cook County District 4 Courthouse, Room 106
1500 Maybrook Drive, Maywood