In contrast to prior mayors, Mayor Johnson’s budget recommendations demonstrate a clear commitment to partnership and a willingness to uplift forgotten communities.
CHICAGO—On Wednesday, the Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement on Mayor Brandon Johnson’s Budget Address and the Executive Budget Recommendations:
Since the inception of our struggle for a more fair, just and equitable Chicago, we have always believed a collaborative partner on the fifth floor of City Hall would make a difference for our students, families and communities.
While Mayor Johnson has only been on the job for less than six months, his willingness to make investments, expand youth job opportunities, and address our city’s need for more mental healthcare capacity shows a clear commitment to partnership and willingness to uplift communities often forgotten. This starkly contrasts with other mayors who have utilized austerity and privatization to shape policy, limit democracy and balance budgets at the expense of our city’s most vulnerable residents.
Today, Chicago is facing real challenges. Whether it be 18,000 new migrants being used in an evil action by right-wing zealots or the tens of thousands of our neighbors who have faced decades of underinvestment and racist segregation in their communities, our city deserves a budget that incorporates the voices of every resident and highlights our city’s generosity. These Executive Budget recommendations turn Chicago toward these ideals, beginning to heal a generation of cuts, closures and harm from previous administrations.
The Mayor has established an Office of Labor Relations as part of this effort. Tasked with aligning the needs of employees and employers, the office is a step in the right direction in uplifting the plight facing working families in this city and ensuring stronger and safer working conditions for all workers.
With the experience of working in an underresourced and overcrowded public school, Mayor Johnson knows firsthand what it means to see students, families and school communities go without because of a lack of resources from our state and federal government. As more migrants call Chicago their temporary home, crafting a budget that can meet their needs while continuing to serve the needs of other vulnerable populations, these budget recommendations clearly show the need for more significant investments from Washington, D.C., Springfield and our city’s well-off.
As we continue to deal with the impacts of climate change, from the flooding on the West Side and the oppressive heat of this past summer, restoring our city’s Department of Environment, providing more affordable housing opportunities to the unhoused, and redefining public safety will also play a prominent role in ensuring our resilience as a city and improving the future outlook for our students and their access to safe and thriving communities.
This is a generational project of raising expectations for the role that government can play in making people’s lives better–and what is required of all working-class people, not just political operatives, movement leaders and electeds, to make that real. We will continue to co-struggle with our brother, Mayor Johnson as he leads us in building a better, stronger and safer Chicago.