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Chicago unions try to save jobs

Report points out areas where city can save $242 million.

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Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:00 am

CHICAGO -- Union leaders issued a report Tuesday that outlines ways Chicago can save $242 million while saving the jobs of hundreds of city workers whom Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he must lay off.

The union leaders said the report they delivered to Emanuel's office takes aim at city departments that are inefficient and bloated with far too many managers and a "patronage" system that unfairly awards contracts to "private contractors and contributors" at the expense of city workers.

The report was released by the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council, which the leaders say represent 8,000 union workers in the city and is the latest volley in a battle between unions and Emanuel.

That battle included Emanuel's announcement this month that after union leaders did not offer suggestions on how to fill the last $10 million of a $31 million budget gap that he was forced to order layoff notices be sent to as many as 625 city workers.

Union officials have bristled at the characterization that they dragged their feet and at what they see as an effort to vilify hard-working city workers. After handing media members the report, they suggested there's a lot of waste at City Hall that has nothing to do with their rank and file members.

They pointed out, for example, that some departments have supervisors who oversee the work of fewer than two front-line workers.

The report says the city could save about $40 million by opening up various jobs to competitive bidding between private firms and the unions.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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