Alderman Burt Natarus finds himself in quite a pickle. Tomorrow, Natarus will vote against the Big Box Ordinance and against giving roughly 10,000 working families in Chicago a raise. He'll also vote to give himself a pay raise, the second in four years. The last was 15%, to $98K a year. This one will be 12%, to $111K.
Desperate for any kind of political cover, Natarus is trying to drum up grassroots support to provide himself political cover. An e-mail sent out by Natarus' office today said:
Tomorrow, July 26th, the City Council will vote on a “Big Box” Ordinance that would establish a super-minimum wage just for large retail stores located in the City of Chicago. I will vote no on the ordinance and I need your support for my vote........Throughout my long career, I have been a strong supporter of unions and the right of workers to organize. I believe that I have been instrumental in creating more union jobs in this ward than have been created in any other ward in Chicago. I am proud of my support for worker’s rights, but this is an exceptional situation. On this singular issue, I cannot support the union position.
Just to recap: in the last year, Natarus has opposed a smoking ban that was backed by the city's restaurant workers, made discriminatory comments about female traffic control officers, and lambasted the employees of the United States Postal Service.
With a friend like Burt Natarus, working Chicagoans don't need enemies.