Saturday, May 20, 2023

Chicago Tribune calls out the city's latest leftist Mayor

Opinion by Aaron Kliegman (Fox News)

Chicago's most prominent newspaper called out the Windy City's newly sworn-in left-wing mayor for doing the bidding of unions and signing "radical" executive orders just hours into the job, calling one in particular a "disaster" for the fiscal stability of Chicago.

"As Mayor Brandon Johnson was celebrating 'the soul of Chicago' in his inaugural speech, his office was churning out a batch of deeply radical executive orders that signal trouble ahead for anyone worried about tax increases or concerned with the fiscal stability of America's third largest city," the Chicago Tribune's editorial board wrote Wednesday, two days after Johnson was inaugurated. "The one that most immediately caught our attention was Johnson's executive order creating a new deputy mayor for labor relations."

The Tribune outlined what "any reasonable adult, be they Democrat or Republican," would expect a deputy mayor for labor relations to do in a big city: balance the demands and expectations of a unionized workforce with the "need to hold the line on costs."

In the public sector, however, there's less incentive to hold the line on costs because spending money to gain popularity is more of an appeal than within private companies.

“In the case of the city's new mayor, this danger is compounded because everyone knows that Johnson was hand-picked by the Chicago Teachers Union, with the help of other public sector unions, and their superb ground game got out the Johnson vote and put their man in City Hall," according to the Tribune. "Even Johnson's most fervent supporters should hope that the new mayor will make some effort to stress his independence from his union paymasters … His first responsibility is to Chicagoans who are trusting him to be a steward of the hard-earned money they pay in taxes and deliver them functional services."

Johnson, a longtime union organizer and activist, was supported by a progressive coalition, including the Chicago Teachers Union. During his campaign, he acknowledged that his ambitious proposals for investments in Chicago's social programs would require tax increases. Among Johnson's most controversial tax proposals is head tax on large companies of $1 to $4 per employee and a jet fuel tax.
As part of his agenda, Johnson, a Democrat, seems to be adopting a clear pro-labor position through some of the new positions he's creating.

The job description for the deputy mayor for labor relations, as released Monday, is being "responsible for working with all city agencies and departments to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of Chicago; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights, including working with relevant authorities to help enforce workers' statutory rights."

According to the Tribune, such a job is a "gift-wrapped present" for the Chicago Teachers Union, "which probably had a big hand in its composition." The editorial board added that the executive order says nothing about an obligation to protect taxpayers, homeowners or businesses.

"It basically says: Do what unionized workers want, find more ways to give them more of what they want, and your annual review will be just dandy," the Tribune argued. "In fact, if you take that job description at face value, any deputy mayor pushing back on any union demand whatsoever would, in fact, be contravening what their boss says is the requirement of the job."

In other words, the city's biggest paper wrote, Johnson's job description for his new deputy is a "disaster and it needs to be immediately rewritten so as to reflect the dual responsibilities of the job, which is to navigate and mediate between legitimate union demands and the ability of the city to meet them without casting citizens from their homes or sending off Chicago businesses to Florida."

The Tribune then called on Johnson to recognize that unions can ask for "unreasonable things" of their employers and be willing to respond, "No, Chicago cannot afford that much."

Johnson has said as mayor he will fund more social workers instead of police officers, let illegal immigrants vote in school board elections, make Chicago a sanctuary for transgender people and ensure women can have easy access to abortions in the city.

On his first day of office, beyond the new deputy mayor for labor relations, Johnson also created new deputy mayor positions for community safety and for immigrant, migrant and refugee rights. During his inaugural address, Johnson said Chicago has "enough room" for migrants who are surging across the country's southern border "whether you are seeking asylum or you are looking for a fully funded neighborhood."

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