CHICAGO -- Mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia stood alongside members of the Chicago Teachers Union Wednesday, supporting a $15 an hour minimum wage for all Chicago Public Schools employees.
“When people in neighborhoods earn better wages, they improve the local economy of their communities,” Garcia said.
But what critics say Garcia should really be talking about is his budget plan for the city, if he's elected.
Brendan Reilly, alderman of the city’s 42nd ward, said, “Mr. Garcia had promised to give us a detailed plan, and Chicago tax payers are still waiting, with just 13 days to go in this election.”
The city treasurer, Kurt Summers, said Chicago is facing a $1.9 billion budget deficit, and feels Garcia lacks a specific financial plan.
“Why can't Chuy tell us if he's going to raise taxes, why can't he tell us if he's going to impact the benefits of current workers? Why can't he tell us what he needs from the state of Illinois to deliver on the promises to the people of Chicago,” Summers said.
Summers and Reilly set up a staged “Chuy Secret Committee Room” at a downtown union hall.
They feel Garcia needs transparency, rather than his announcement to appoint a budget committee the day after the April 7 runoff election.
“It's too important, the stakes are too high and the potential impact on everyday Chicagoans are too severe, Summers said.
Garcia was part of a rally Wednesday -- with the Chicago Teachers Union and members of the “Fight For 15″ group -- that gathered across the street from CPS headquarters, along with union janitor workers, asking for the wage increase.
The Teachers Union is also asking for $15 an hour for parent workers who stand along “Safe Passage” routes in the city — an important job, they say, after the closing of 50 neighborhood schools resulting in many students having a longer walk.