July 17, 2017

Stop Cook County layoffs

In the wake of a court order halting implementation of a new tax on sugary beverages, the Preckwinkle Administration is taking steps to lay off hundreds of County employees. AFSCME members are mobilizing to stop the layoffs.

The planned layoffs would have devastating consequences for public safety, health care, and the criminal justice system. All 15 AFSCME local unions at Cook County are calling on the Cook County Board to look for alternatives to layoffs—spending down reserves, borrowing/bonding, or a new means of raising revenues.

Cook County employees can call their commissioner to voice their opposition to the layoffs.

“AFSCME members in 15 local unions across Cook County are calling on the board to look to other options to avoid layoffs,” AFSCME Council 31 Regional Director Helen Thornton said. “We are prepared to fight to preserve jobs and vital services for Cook County residents.”

The court order blocking implementation of the new tax opened up a $68 million shortfall in the County’s FY 17 budget. The order will remain in effect while a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new law makes its way through the legal system. Given that the issue could be tied up in the court for many months to come, the budget shortfall will be even bigger in the coming fiscal year if the County Board does not enact at least a temporary revenue fix.

“Cook County government is already understaffed in many critical areas,” Thornton said. “It is irresponsible to lay off employees who provide essential public services at a time when our communities need such services more than ever.”

Contact your County Commissioner right away. Click here for contact information.

Tell your commissioner: The Cook County Board must act to halt these harmful and irresponsible layoffs and find other means to address the budget shortage. Layoffs on this scale will harm vital services on which Cook County residents rely and cause economic hardship for hundreds of employees.

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