Historic Black Caucus move to block $3.5 billion O'Hare bond deal supported by Progressive Caucus

Date: 
09/10/2016
LHairston

Alderman Leslie Hairston

The Chicago City Council Black Caucus made an historic move in the Finance Committee Friday to block the approval of $3.5 billion in bonds for O’Hare International Airport. Their concerns are over lack of diversity in hiring and contracting by both the financial firms managing the deal and the City of Chicago Department of Aviation. 

Committee members spent several hours questioning representatives from financial firms, the City’s Chief Financial Officer Carole Brown, and Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans. Then 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston moved to defer the vote.  

RTSawyer

Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer

In the roll call vote, The Black Caucus was supported by Progressive Caucus members: Aldermen Leslie Hairston (5)  Black Caucus Chair Roderick T. Sawyer (6), Toni Foulkes (16), Ricardo Muñoz (22), Scott Waguespack (32) and John Arena (45). 

In the 14 to 11 vote, the other Aldermen in support were Pat Dowell (3), Greg Mitchell (7), Derrick Curtis (18), Willie Cochran (20), Roberto Maldonado (26), Jason Ervin (28), Emma Mitts (37) and Harry Osterman (48). 

“Year after year, we listen as these executives try to pacify our concerns over these issues. And year after year, nothing changes,” said 3rd Ward Alderman Dowell. “Today, the Black Caucus sent a clear message. We will not wait patiently for the banks and the Department of Aviation to address the rampant institutionalized racism in their hiring and contracting practices. We need more than lip service with $3.5 billion on the line.” 

WagArena

Aldermen Scott Waguespack and John Arena

“Diversity in hiring and contracting are one of our many concerns about the way business is being conducted at O’Hare,” said Waguespack, who is chair of the Progressive Caucus. “In addition to rampant minimum wage and wage theft violations to efforts to stop workers from organizing for better working conditions, this deficiency around minority hiring and contracting is unacceptable. We want to see immediate steps taken by the Department of Aviation to demonstrate it takes these issues seriously.” 

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