Cook County Workers & Repeal of the Sweetened Beverage Tax

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Cook County Commissioners Repealed the Sweetened Beverage Tax

The Sweetened Beverage Tax currently supports 10% of Cook County’s budget. SEIU Local 73 Cook County members benefit from the Sweetened Beverage Tax every day because the tax supports the services we provide and the salaries and benefits for those of us performing those services.

We experienced the impact of one month without the Sweetened Beverage Tax. The temporary injunction ordered by a judge cost the County $33 million. Our members received layoff notices, the County eliminated many vacant positions, and instituted a hiring freeze. South suburban residents lost the Oak Forest Intermediate Care Center. One member lost his job and others retired early due to the closure.

The projected $204 million hole in Cook County’s 2018 budget will cause a wholesale loss of services in the 2018 budget.

County officers testified today that entire units will close, suburban offices will be shuttered, and there will be over 1,000 layoffs. President Preckwinkle said if the commissioners cannot find additional revenue; there will be an 11% budget cut to all offices and all separately elected officers – Clerk; Recorder; Sheriff; Treasurer; Offices under the President; and the Cook County Health and Hospital System.

The loss of this tax revenue will also impact our economic bargaining negotiations. If the County is laying people off and cutting services, it will make negotiating for wage increases, reclassifications, upgrades and holding the line on health insurance costs more difficult.

In the coming weeks, SEIU Local 73 members will need to be in constant contact with our commissioners. We will show up and testify at every budget hearing because we are stronger when we fight together.

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