Quick Hit Monday November 11th, 2013, 11:37am

Op-Ed: Chicago Faith Leaders Decry Privatization Of Public Sector Jobs

Chicago's faith leaders joined forces to push back against privatization and the loss of public sector jobs.

Drawing on our sacred Scriptures which inform us that all people are created in the image of God, thereby deserving of dignity, we believe all working people need wages and benefits that will sustain them and their families. We further believe that it is in the best interest of a community to have its public-sector jobs held under the auspices of the community, not an outside contractor who too often stands to profit by exploiting the workforce and offering sub-standard services.

The great City of Chicago has witnessed a growing number of government jobs being handed over to the private sector in order to “cut expenses.” However, the decision-making process has not been transparent and there was no opportunity for public review of the private contracts. These decisions have far-reaching consequences and need to be brought into the light of public scrutiny and debate.

When privatizing government jobs, often the good, family-supporting jobs are replaced with low-paying jobs that render employees eligible for food stamps and subsidized health care. This loss of income further destabilizes our Chicago families and neighborhoods. Moreover, all too frequently privatization results in sub-standard services and cuts in services that further devastate our communities.

A particularly troubling aspect of the privatization trend is that many of the city employees who have been laid-off are African American. For decades public-sector jobs have provided African-Americans with a path to the middle class. However, with the trend of privatizing public sector jobs being accelerated, that path is now blocked.

As people of faith, we join our voices together to advocate for the citizens of Chicago. In order to achieve thriving communities, the stabilization of neighborhoods, and a workforce that reflects the city’s population, we call upon all city officials to stop privatizing public-sector jobs. In the rare cases when the city must hire a contractor, we call for an open and transparent process that holds contractors to a high level of accountability to the people of Chicago.

Together, we can create the city that God intends for Chicago, one of shared prosperity and dignity for all citizens.

Rev. Erik Christensen, St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square
Sr. Carol Cook, Sisters of Charity, Blessed Virgin Mary
Rev. Jean Darling, People’s Church
Sr. Kathleen Desautels, Sisters of Providence
Fr. Larry Dowling, St. Agatha Catholic Church
Rabbi Laurence Edwards, Or Kadash Congregation
Rev. Larry Greenfield, American Baptist Church
Rev. C.J. Hawking, Arise Chicago
Rev. Fred Kinsey, Unity Lutheran Church
Rev. Sheri Lowly, Berry Memorial United Methodist Church
Rev. Michael Mann, United Methodist Church
Rev. Kevin J. McLemore, Epiphany United Church of Christ
Rev. Liz Munoz, St. James Episcopal Cathedral
Sr. Pat Murphy, Sisters of Mercy Chicago Justice Committee
Rev. Lois Parr, Broadway United Methodist Church
Sr. JoAnn Persch, Sisters of Mercy Chicago Justice Committee
Fr. Michael Shanahan, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
Rev. John Thomas, Chicago Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Oscar L. Varnadoe III, United Church of Christ
Rev. Wendy Witt, Chicago Temple of First United Methodist Church
Rev. Sara Wohlleb, United Church of Christ


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