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Rahm picks up Teamsters support

Updated: February 1, 2011 10:36AM

Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel held a mini-rally Tuesday amid apples, limes and avocados to announce his endorsement by the Teamsters Union.

“Fifty-five percent of the Teamsters have spoken and said that they want Rahm Emanuel as their next mayor, and I don’t think we should let two appellate court judges decide otherwise,” Teamsters President John Coli said to cheers from dozens of muscular union members at Panama Bananas on the Southwest Side.

“The courts should not be playing games with what a majority of Chicagoans obviously wants and with what our members have told us they want,” Coli said, referring to the appellate court ruling — since put on hold — that threw Emanuel off the ballot for mayor.

Emanuel was asked if he talked with the union members about his plans to save money on garbage collection as mayor — the Teamsters represent Chicago’s three-to-a-truck garbage crews.

Yes he did, Emanuel and Coli said. The reason the Teamsters refused to accept concessions from Mayor Daley and chose lay-offs instead is because Daley never sat down with them and included them in discussions of how to save money, Coli said. Emanuel has promised he will, Coli said. He noted Emanuel’s grandfather was a union organizer and truck-driver.

“I was out first with the notion that we’re going to have to pick up garbage differently,” Emanuel said. Turning to Coli, he said, “I called John beforehand. I said, ‘Look, this is going to hit close to home.’”

Coli nodded.

“First, you set a price per ton,” Emanuel said. “I would give the city employees nine months: You come back with the savings.”

Emanuel would give the employees themselves the first chance to come up with changes to meet the lower price. If they could not, he would let them bid against private companies.

In the poll of Teamster rank and file, rival candidate Carol Mosely Braun came in second with 18 percent and Gery Chico got 17 percent, Coli said.

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