Union members and Jeffrey Howard, SEIU Local 73 Executive Vice President, gathered on Tuesday in front of the Chicago Housing Authority Client Service Center to urge the board to not go forth with a plan to privatize the Front Desk Monitor unit.
“We’re here to fight another attack on essential workers. There’s currently an effort to privatize nearly 25 hardworking men and women throughout CHA who work as Front Desk Monitors, replacing them with an armed security force that has zero connections to the residents,” said Howard.
SEIU Local 73 states that the plan to replace union workers with a private security firm would be disastrous for residents who rely on CHA housing and services. Residents and workers believe the connections they’ve built together would be thrown aside and forgotten if CHA goes through with the plan. Front Desk Monitors and residents therefore worked together to gather nearly 230 signatures to showcase their displeasure with the CHA’s efforts to privatize. They believe the meaningful support workers have provided, much of which goes above and beyond their basic duties, has been critical, particularly during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve heard countless stories from our union members at CHA about the care and love they have for these residents. From coordinating birthday celebrations, cleaning, and even purchasing TVs out of their own pockets for common areas, the bridge between Front Desk Monitors and their residents is strong and clear,” said Howard. “These are the people that CHA is willing to replace with a private security firm. These are the people who have given their all to give CHA residents the dignity and respect they deserve.”
Executive Vice President Jeffrey Howard speaks at the CHA board meeting on July 19: