Chicago’s longtime chief labor negotiators size Paul Ballas and Brandon Johnson


The April 4 mayoral runoff between Paul Ballas and Brandon Johnson has been portrayed as the Police Fraternity candidate versus the Chicago Teachers Union candidate.

Jim Franzek, the city’s chief labor negotiator, doesn’t see it that way – and he’s in a unique position to know.

Franczek called Vallas a “clear choice” and Johnson’s relationship with CTU a major concern.

Franczek sat on the opposite side of the negotiating table while Vallas was serving as an unpaid adviser to the FOP.

Without Vallas, the contract would not have included all of the “core police accountability provisions” demanded by city councilors and a consent order outlining the terms of federal court oversight of Chicago police, Franzek said. claims.

These provisions include ending a 40-year ban on investigating anonymous complaints of police misconduct. No longer allows officers to change the story after reviewing body camera video of the incident. Remove the requirement to destroy disciplinary records that are more than five years old. Opening bounties for officers who report misconduct by fellow officers.

“In the world of industrial relations and the world of police accountability, [reforms] It was a pretty big deal. Frankly, no one but Paul Vallas could have done it. It was Paul’s considerable persuasiveness and ability to bring people together that led to that agreement,” Frantzek said.

Before being dismissed on February 28, Mayor Lori Lightfoot accused Vallas of receiving law and order “marching orders” from newly re-elected FOP President John Cattanzala.

Franczek said nothing was far from the truth.

“John is certainly a controversial character. There are no ifs, ands, buts about it. said Franzek.

“Paul is a pretty independent guy. I’ve known him for 30 years. He’s not going to take orders from John Cattanzara or anyone else. What he can do is work effectively with a wide range of people and It’s about assessing their interests and coming up with solutions and reconciliations around those interests.”

Franczek described Vallas as a “deal maker” who “makes things work”.

He pointed to a pair of four-year teaching contracts he and Valas negotiated together while Valas was CEO of Chicago Public Schools for six years.

“Before that, from 1968 to 1995, there were 11 strikes. There were 20 one- or two-year collective bargaining agreements. ’” Franzek recalls.

“Paul has come in and done eight-year, two-year, four-year collective bargaining agreements that have provided stability, flexibility and predictability to the system. bottom [leaders] Back then it was a bunch of pansies. Tom Reece and his group were very strong supporters. Reaching these agreements was not easy. The pole was definitely the stick that stirred the drink. ”

Johnson is a paid organizer of the Chicago Teachers Union whose campaign is funded and staffed by CTU, SEIU Local 1, SEIU Healthcare and AFSCME Council 31.

Frank Zech considers Johnson a “very important person” with “enormous talent”, but said it should be a significant concern for Chicago voters.

“The last time I saw him, he was getting $5 million from the Chicago Teachers Union. He got millions from the SEIU. I can’t imagine not having a duty to the Chicago Teachers’ Union and the SEIU,” said Franczek.

“He said, ‘I’m leaving the Chicago Teachers Union.’ I can’t believe it.”


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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