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SEIU Local 73 supports right to protest NATO/G8

By staff |
July 18, 2011
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Christine Boardman speaking at press conference against FBI repression
Christine Boardman speaking at press conference against FBI and grand jury repression. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
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Chicago, IL - On July 16, the Executive Board of Local 73 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) voted unanimously that anti-war protesters had the right to march against the NATO/G8 summit being held in Chicago in May of 2012.

Joe Iosbaker, Executive Board member, proposed the resolution, explaining, “Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be hosting this convention of the war makers who have caused so many deaths and the financial ministers responsible for the world economic crisis.” Holding up the front page of the Chicago Sun Times from the day before, Iosbaker showed the workers the front page headline, “Chaos Control.” “We’re planning a permitted march and Superintendent of Police McCarthy is threatening us in the paper that he’ll respond to protests with mass arrests. We won’t be intimidated,” said Iosbaker. 

Representing over 25,000 public employees, Local 73 is currently engaged in a big fight with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel over jobs. On July 15, Emanuel announced plans to lay off over 600 workers, including 350 members of Local 73. Emanuel claimed this was needed to close a $30 million budget deficit for the city of Chicago.

President Christine Boardman and Secretary Treasurer Matt Brandon criticized Mayor Emanuel for moving to lay off these workers without negotiating with the unions. Further, Brandon had presented to the Mayor proposals for savings of $10 million without layoffs. These were ignored by Emanuel.

The city of Chicago is home to some of the richest people and corporations on earth. Hosting the NATO/G8 summit will cost the city millions of dollars. To accommodate the summit, Emanuel is forcing a restaurant association to move from the McCormick Place convention center that week. This will result in the loss of additional millions.

The protests were initiated by the United National Antiwar Committee. The call for the protest opposes endless wars and calls for billions spent on war and destruction to be spent instead on people’s needs for jobs, health care, housing and education.

In response to the threats by Police Superintendent McCarthy, the language of the letter includes three demands of Emanuel: Grant permits to rally and march to the NATO/G8 summit; guarantee civil liberties; and guarantee protection from spying, infiltration of organizations or other attacks by the FBI or partner law enforcement agencies.

Local 73 President Boardman stated that she would take part in a press conference to be held at the fifth floor offices of Mayor Emanuel next week to present the demands for permits.

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