Power To The People

by | Jun 1, 2007

Chicago-based In These Times offers a look at a political struggle taking place in Chicago’s city government.

Chicago’s labor unions decided to send Mayor Richard M. Daley a message: The “city that works” doesn’t work for working families. In the February and April elections, the labor movement broke with the city’s fabled but feeble Democratic machine, and helped oust key Daley allies and elect seven new members to the 50-seat city council.

Unions spent roughly $3 million and fielded a political operation stronger than Daley’s that backed challengers to the mayor’s council allies.

University of Illinois at Chicago political science professor Dick Simpson says, the new council bloc will be pushing a “working-class, middle-class agenda, as opposed to the global economy tilt of the Daley administration.”

According to Chicago Tribune, Chicago is governed under a “weak mayor, strong council” system. But that hasn’t been the case for much of Daley’s 18 years in power, with critics contending the council has all-too-humbly served as a rubber stamp for the popular mayor.