Mayor's defeat in City Council signaled changes in balances of power

July 25, 2006. A significant beginning. On the hot evening of July 25, 2006, more than 500 union members, community activists, religious leaders, and concerned citizens gathered at Chicago’s City Hall to march in support of the “Big Box Living Wage Ordinance” which was to come before the Chicago City Council the following day. The night before the "Big Box" vote, TV camera crews photographed the beginning of the march on the Randolph St. side of City Hall. Led by Rev Robin Hood (ACORN), Toni Foulkes (ACORN), Alderman Ricardo Munoz, and Alderman Joe Moore, the march was a prelude to the overwhelming vote the following day in support of the ordinance. The veto by Mayor Richard M. Daley two months later set the stage for the dramatic aldermanic elections of February 27 and April 17, 2007. The following day, Chicago’s City Council voted by an overwhelming majority to pass the “Big Box Living Wage” ordinance. In September, Mayor Daley vetoed the ordinance, surviving an override by getting aldermen who had originally voted for the ordinance to flip their votes.

The unions vowed to challenge City Council members who had opposed the living wage and supported exploiters like Wal-Mart. During the February 27 election, several incumbent aldermen (including Burton Natarus and Arenda Troutmen, both outspoken supporters of Mayor Daley) were defeated. In runoff elections on April 17, 2007, additional Daley supporters were also defeated. Those defeated included Dorothy Tillman, Shirley Coleman, and Michael Chandler. Chandler had originally supported a resolution opposing school closings, but turned around and supported Daley. There will be more important news from City Council in the coming months, and Substance will be covering it. 


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