Rahm Emanuel plays hardball

If Rahm Emanuel were a Republican mayor, he would be pilloried in the media as heartless, and become the number one enemy of organized labor. But with barely a yawn from either faction, the Chicago mayor has been carrying out a program of privatizing city jobs, laying off unionized municipal employees and contracting out the work to vendors, who hire nonunion people to do the jobs of a few dollars an hour less than the city employees earned.

If Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had done something like this, imagine the uproar.  But Rahm Emanuel, with his ties to both the Clinton and Obama factions and the insatiable craving for power without which there would be no tyranny, pushes around poorly paid members on not just any union, but the very SEIU itself, and the general public hears nothing about it.

A Chicago neighborhood publication, Our Urban Times, tells the story, using the case of more than fifty recently laid-off library janitors who complete Rahm's privatization drive in the Chicago's Department of Fleet and Facility Management (2FM). There is no doubt that the janitors are ideal candidates to be characterized as victims of a heartless and ruthless rich politician. The new working arrangements push several union buttons:

Their rates to the employee tend to be at least four dollars under the $11.90 to $15.90 workers are currently being paid. Further more [sic] they hire people on a part time basis and do not have to provide benefits, according to [Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU Local 73 Matt] Brandon.

There heart-rending stories of suffering by minorities during the holiday waiting for the MSNBC cameras, if only they would come:

"We took furlough days when they asked us to. That cost me $4,000 over three years. Our contract says we are to get a 90-day notice for termination. We got one day. I'm very concerned.  I don't know what I am going to do and I have bills to pay," said Glenda Thomas, a 17-year employee.

Because the city of Chicago lacks the power to print money, Mayor Emanuel is forced to confront a financial squeeze that presages what will face America when the rest of the world starts to regard the dollar as a soft currency.

I think there is more going on here than mere MSM favoritism, though that is a critical factor. Having tasted presidential power as Barack Obama's chief of staff, it is almost inevitable that Rahm is positioning himself for a presidential run. Forced by necessity to cut costs, he squeezing the nost politically powerful union in the country, and getting away with it. As Richard Nixon was able to open diplomatic relations with China, Rahm and other Democrats with the wit to see financial reality looming may be able to rein in the unions. It may nbot be fair, but it is politics.

Any serious conservative who doesn't keep a close eye on Rahm Emanuel is foolish.

Hat tip: Peter von Buol