Rahm Emanuel was never a fan of labor unions (or anyone who gets in his way). Obama's former chief of staff, turned Mayor of Chicago, got a state act to raise strike votes to 75% aye required of unions in his jurisdiction. Imagine if an elected Republican executive did such a thing in neighboring Wisconsin. (Wait, we don't have to imagine).
The unions' response, since they are in a joint venture with the Democratic Party: "Isn't this wonderful that we can come to an agreement without getting nasty like unions have to do with Evil Meanie Republican Governor Scott in Wisconsin?" From Chicago Tribune:
"In a recurring early theme of his tenure, Mayor Rahm Emanuel put the squeeze on organized labor Wednesday, telling City Hall unions he’ll lay off 625 workers unless they quickly get on board with money-saving changes to their jobs. . . .
The unions, caught off-guard by the mayor’s public throw-down, said the blame belongs on the politicians.
“There have been absolutely no negotiations between the city and the unions representing the city’s workforce,” said a joint statement by Jorge Ramirez, of the Chicago Federation of Labor. . . "
Rejecting furloughs as "hurting morale" (Daley's previous measure), Emanuel prefers layoffs:
“It is not necessary to do the layoffs if you agree to these reforms. If you don’t, that will be the choice left to me on behalf of the taxpayers,” Emanuel said. “So you can employ people and balance the budget. They have to be a partner to do it. I cannot do it without them. But if they don’t agree to it, 625 people and their families will lose that job.”