|Rahm claims he's the guy who can step in at the last minute with his tough guy approach and prevent a strike.|
The Sun-Times' Fran Spielman is painting Rahm as the broker, the one guy who can step in at the last moment, resolve the contentious contract negotiations in a closed door meeting, and by sheer will, prevent a teachers strike. At the same time, Spielman is portraying the mayor as the tough guy (unlike Mayor Daley) who can keep the union in its place.
Early next week, sources said the mayor plans to step it up a notch by having a “second level of negotiations with more senior people” away from the same cast of characters currently at the bargaining table. The second tier of negotiations is likely to include Beth Swanson, Emanuel’s point person on education, and “someone from Washington, D.C., who is a more moderate, outside senior level” expert capable of “driving this home,” sources said.Translation: Since Rahm hasn't been able to get it done, party heavyweights are stepping in to make sure there aren't thousands of teachers and unhappy parents in the streets around election time.
Far from being the broker, Rahm is the problem. He's the guy the Civic Committee is pressing to take the hard line with the CTU and with all the city's public sector unions. And he's telling them just what they want to hear -- I'm not like that wimp Daley who gave away the store to avoid a strike. Or as a mayoral confident tells Spielman:
“If we come to the end, and it’s a choice between a ridiculous settlement and a strike, we would take a strike."By "ridiculous settlement" I suppose they mean, giving teachers more than a 2% raise (after taking away their 4% raise in the previous contract) and hiring back some of the veteran teachers they fired, ahead of the lower-paid newbies.
Here's what Rahm's people fed Spielman about his rift with the Daley's:
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley never got personally involved in labor negotiations, unlike his father. Instead, Daley delegated the responsibility to negotiators, remained at arm’s length and inevitably ended up agreeing to contracts taxpayers could not afford to maintain labor peace. Daley was timid and notoriously risk-averse when it came to labor negotiations.With the national election on the line Obama's people may be growing tired of Rahm's antics. His pot shots at his predecessor, Daley has made him lots of enemies within the ranks of the party hierarchy. So has his ultra-aggressive stance towards unions -- going so far as to make an anti-union video with T-Party extremists, saying "F*^k you" to CTU prez Karen Lewis, and hiring anti-union protesters at CPS board meetings. Rahm is even taking credit away from candidate Obama for the auto industry bailout, telling Spielman that it was he who saved GM. Rahm also may have aggravated many of his minions by asking cash-starved CPS to set aside $25 million for scab money in the event of a strike.
According to Spielman, Rahm may not even attend the Democratic Convention, "if that’s what it takes to nail down a deal." Is it that or have Obama's people quietly told him to stay home and out of camera sight for a while?
I say, leave now for Charlotte and maybe something can be done here in Chicago to prevent a strike. You're the problem, Rahm. Not the solution.
SIDE STORY: I love this headline -- Rahm on Casino: "I Want it For Our Kids"