SEIU Illinois State Council Applauds Historic Progressive Caucus Win
Despite Attacks Progressive Caucus to Double in Size; Victory a Win for the Independent Voices of Chicago
CHICAGO- The SEIU Illinois State Council congratulates the Progressive Caucus aldermen on their historic win today. Rahm Emanuel’s super PAC, pro-business PACs, national charter school groups and Bruce Rauner’s Republican allies all joined forces to take out the Progressive Caucus in the 2015 election. Despite this financial onslaught, the Progressive Caucus not only defended all of its original members it is very likely the Caucus will double in size once the new council is sworn into office in May.
The Progressive Caucus defended John Arena (45th Ward) and Toni Foulkes (16th Ward) in the runoff, and added additional members to its ranks. In the runoffs, we have added Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th Ward), Milly Santiago (31st Ward) and Anthony Napolitano (41st Ward)—Alderman Mary O’Connor of the 41st Ward, who lost her seat, opposed raising the minimum wage and stood with Rahm by refusing to support O’Hare janitors whom the mayor replaced ten days before Christmas of 2012. In addition, several other newly elected aldermen are expressing a strong desire to join the rapidly growing caucus.
In the February 24th election, we also added two new Progressive Caucus members Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward) and David Moore (17th Ward), while protecting original members: Leslie Hairston (5th Ward), Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward), Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward), Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward), and Nicholas Sposato (38th Ward).
“These progressive aldermen demonstrated a consistent independent voice for the City of Chicago and as a result were successful in their election campaigns,”said Tom Balanoff, SEIU Illinois State Council President. “We look forward to continuing our work with the members of the Progressive Caucus to champion the need for middle class economics by restoring balance, reviving neighborhoods and building an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.”
“Our endorsed aldermanic candidates won with an explicitly bold and progressive agenda that included: raising the minimum wage to $15; an elected and representative school board; a moratorium on privatization of city services; an end to regressive taxes like speed cameras; and reform of the corporate-sweetheart TIF program,” said April Verrett, Executive Vice-President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois. “Our grassroots campaign was successful. Chicago now has a bigger progressive city council caucus than ever, despite the fact that Rahm tried to destroy it.”
“The clear choice for residents of Chicago in today’s election was between a future in which we all have access to a quality standard of living, or one in which workers are increasingly stuck in low-wage jobs with a widening income inequality gap,” said Sherri Jordan, SEIU Local 1 Executive Board member. “That’s why SEIU is proud to congratulate these Progressive Caucus winners on their victory because it is a win for all of us. Together we will continue our fight to eradicate the economic and social inequality that currently thrives in our city.”
The SEIU Illinois State Council is leading the fight for a Chicago City Council that is more independent and representative of the needs of Chicago’s working people. The SEIU Council spent $1.8 million in selected progressive ward contests in the 2015 election. The Council was heavily involved in aldermanic races in past election cycles and is looking forward to working with the expanded Progressive Caucus.
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Representing more than 150,000 workers, the SEIU Illinois Council represents workers including security officers, janitors, home care and child care providers, as well as public employees, medical professionals, first responders and social service workers. SEIU members are winning better wages, health care, and more secure jobs, while ensuring that workers, not just corporations and CEOs, benefit from today’s economy.