SEIU backs Chuy Garcia while scab herding Local 73 president and vice president red bait their own state union while continuing their suck up to Rahm Emanuel...

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has announced that it is supporting Chuy Garcia for Mayor of Chicago in the April 7 runoff against incumbent Rahm Emanuel. One local, Local 73, not only tried to stop the endorsement, but followed the announcement by red baiting the unions that are now supporting Chuy for pursuing a "socialist agenda." The person who made this attack, Local 73 President Vice President Matt Brandon, is the same person who joined the local's president, Christine Boardman, and ordered her members to scab during the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012.

Since they became scab herders for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the fact of the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, SEIU Local 73 President Christine Boardman (above left) and Vice President Matt Brandon (above right) have remained firmly in the camp of neoliberal union busting "school reform." In March 2015, they tried to red bait the SEIU Illinois state organization when the organization voted to support Chuy Garcia against Rahm Emanuel for Mayor of Chicago in the April 7 runoff. That infamous scab story, told long ago, is now relevant again. In August 2012, Boardman announced that her local, which represents the second largest number of CPS workers (after the Chicago Teachers Union) cut a deal with the Board of Education that included what is called a "Me, too..." clause. That meant that Boardman's members would get the same raises later won by the Chicago Teachers Union. But the Chicago Teachers Union won those gains through its first strike in 25 years. Boardman and Brandon ordered their members (mostly special education aides and security people) to cross union picket lines and go into the "scab schools" opened by then Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard. At the time, principals told Substance that there were more adults in the school buildings than children, who after the strike's first day ignored the offers of free food and joined their teachers on the picket lines.

Many of the Local 73 members who crossed the picket lines did so in tears, and later asked CTU members why they can't be represented by a real union like the CTU. (Disclosure: this reporter was once director of research for Local 73; he was fired by Boardman for disclosing that the national president of the SEIU was using false information to trash the public schools during a 2006 book tour).

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the SEIU state organization has ignored the pleas of their Local 73 and acted to endorse Chuy Garcia for mayor. Christine Boardman's Local 73 accused the state organization of pursuing a socialist agenda.


The vote to endorse Garcia over Mayor Rahm Emanuel was not unanimous, with SEIU Local 73 leaders backing Emanuel, [political director Jerry] Morrison said. That local, which represent some city workers, backed Emanuel's plan to overhaul city worker and laborer pensions plans. The pension changes were enacted by the state, but now face legal challenges. Emanuel has described it as a road map for dealing with other underfunded city pension plans.

Matt Brandon, secretary treasurer of Local 73, said he urged the state council to remain neutral in the April 7 runoff, as it had done in the first round last month.

Despite the stance of neutrality in the first round, SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana backed Garcia, providing both money and volunteers.

Local 1 and SEIU Healthcare were able to carry Saturday's vote, Brandon said. "We raised several objections at the meeting to procedure and rules, but of course we were overruled," he said.

Brandon said Local 73 has the biggest stake of any of the locals in the election outcome because 14,000 of its members work for the city. But the other locals see Garcia as the champion of their 99 percent vs. the 1 percent theme, he contended.

"They are trying to create more of a socialist agenda," Brandon said, while his local is trying to take more of a realist approach. "I just think the mayor has done a lot for our members."

It also seems that the usually cautious Tom Balanoff was not impressed with the recent Tribune polls any more than the rest of us. It is unlikely that the state organization would break with a sitting Democratic Mayor if they did not think there was a good chance of beating him.

The SEIU endorsement follows on the heels of a week of endorsements for Chuy from the African American and Latino communities.


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