In a tweet on Saturday, Sanders (I-Vt.) said it was “outrageous” that Cook County received $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan—the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief and economic stimulus package signed into law by President Joe Biden in March—”but still refuses to negotiate a fair deal for workers.”
SEIU Local 73 says that in addition to Sanders, U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) and numerous state, county, and local officials have shown solidarity with the strikers. One of them, Chicago City Alderwoman Maria Hadden, told strikers during a Friday demonstration in Maywood that “you all are the lifeblood of making sure our county works. “The work that you do is so essential,” said Hadden, “and if we’ve learned anything over the pandemic, it’s that we need you!”
NBC Chicago reports the county workers’ strike, which is the longest in SEIU Local 73’s history, began after nine months of failed negotiations over a new contract. The union rejected the county’s offer of an 8.5% pay hike over the next four years, explaining that it was a smaller increase than offered to other unions.
SEIU Local 73 leaders decried what they said is a lack of incentives for long-term workers and raises for the county’s poorest-paid workers, including custodians and housekeepers. They are also demanding raises to help pay for health insurance premium increases.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction