January 21, 2015

Progressive aldermen call for privatization ordinance

At a press conference on Tuesday, January 20, members of the Chicago City Council’s Progressive Reform Caucus called for action on the Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance, which has been stalled in a City Council committee for more than 18 months.

The ordinance would require that the City Council hold a hearing on any privatization proposal in order to determine the actual costs and all implications. It would also require a cost-savings analysis in order to determine whether the contract would produce real savings for taxpayers without driving down employee wages.

AFSCME Council 31 helped to draft the ordinance and has lobbied for its passage.

"This important ordinance would help to shine a bright light on City contracts before any deal is signed," AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. "It has languished in Committee for far too long and deserves a full hearing and expeditious vote."

The ordinance was proposed in the wake of decisions to privatize jobs and services that have resulted in the loss of good jobs with little to no benefit to taxpayers. Currently, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has the power to privatize city work without oversight from the council.

The collective bargaining agreement negotiated by AFSCME and the Emanuel administration last summer includes a provision aimed at bringing city jobs and services back in-house, but the proposed ordinance is broader in scope.

"There should be nothing controversial about this ordinance – in fact, the Mayor recently said that he would be introducing his own version," 6th Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer said in a statement. "Instead, we just need to make amendments to this ordinance that was filed more than two years ago. This legislation could save taxpayers from terrible deals like the parking meter privatization plan, and it deserves an immediate hearing and a vote."

AFSCME members in the City of Chicago should call their aldermen and urge them to call for a vote on the Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance. 

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