- Organized labor helped get Todd Stroger elected president of the Cook County Board, but now union leaders say they feel betrayed by Stroger's proposal to lay off thousands of their members to balance the county budget.
"There hasn't been a more loyal group to President Stroger than the labor community," said Dennis Gannon of the Chicago Federation of Labor. "I'm very concerned about this budget being balanced on the backs of hard-working men and women."
In a challenge to Stroger, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees -- the biggest union of county workers -- met with him last week and argued that cuts alone aren't enough. The union proposed that the county raise taxes -- something Stroger has said he won't do.
And here come the scare tactics that "crime may rise" if these budget cuts take effect:
- Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine says there is a risk that crime could go up if the county proceeds with some hefty budget cuts.
Devine said the 17 percent budget cuts requested by county officials mean hundreds of county prosecutors will have to be laid off.
As a result, Devine said, more plea bargains are likely to be offered to defendants, and special units of the state's attorney's office that handle such offenses as arson and financial crimes would have to be eliminated.
Budget cuts across the board and no raising taxes? We might have to give the Toddster a nod - if it actually takes effect (we aren't holding our breath though).