Sunday, January 16, 2011

Labor Laying Ground for Gains in Council Races

Chicago News Coop:
Organized labor is planning to spend millions of dollars and deploy thousands of volunteers across Chicago’s wards in the coming election to expand its influence at City Hall.

Although the largest labor groups appear to be staying neutral in the race for the open mayor’s post, the union that is the top donor to Illinois political campaigns is positioning itself to play an important role in the City Council races.
Thomas Balanoff, the president of S.E.I.U.’s state council, said last week that his group and other union activists, including the Chicago Federation of Labor, could spend several million dollars in the city elections this year.
This year, with Mr. Daley not running for another term and 10 incumbent aldermen also retiring, union officials say they hope to claim a majority on the Council. “That’s our goal,” Mr. Balanoff said. “We think there is a good chance.”
A priority will be to re-elect the freshman aldermen they helped to win in the last election as well as other council supporters with greater seniority. The labor-endorsed incumbents include Pat Dowell in the 3rd Ward, Freddrenna Lyle in the 6th, Toni Foulkes in the 15th, Ricardo Munoz in the 22nd and Joe Moore in the 49th, S.E.I.U. officials said Friday.

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