Vallas urges trade unions to get out the vote, accuses CTU of ‘dirty tricks’

Mayoral challenger Paul Vallas said the CTU is behind the bogus lawn signs popping up around the city. The Vallas for Mayor signs include a red box that says, “MAGA 2024,” invoking the Trump slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

SHARE Vallas urges trade unions to get out the vote, accuses CTU of ‘dirty tricks’
Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas at a news conference on Sunday, March 26, 2023.

Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas is accusing the Chicago Teachers Union of putting up bogus campaign signs linking him to a Trump slogan.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file photo

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Mayoral challenger Paul Vallas held a get-out-the-vote rally Monday with trade union leaders and accused the Chicago Teachers Union bankrolling Brandon Johnson’s campaign of using “dirty tricks” to push the “false narrative” that Vallas is a Republican.

Vallas said he has no doubt the CTU is responsible for the bogus lawn signs popping up all over the city.

The Vallas for Mayor signs include a red box that says: “MAGA 2024,” invoking “Make America Great Again,” the Donald Trump slogan.

“We all know who’s putting them up. ... It’s really insulting … to the voters to think that they can pull these stunts and get away with it. But that’s the arrogance,” Vallas said.

“And it’s just not an arrogance that’s been exhibited against me. When aldermen ... talk to me about the so-called CTU leadership dirty tricks — these are stunts that they have pulled in local races where they’ve opposed a sitting alderman,” Vallas said.

A CTU spokesperson responded: “Of course, that’s what Paul Vallas thinks.”

Johnson’s campaign manager, Jason Lee, said he has no idea who made the signs or where they came from.

Vallas said CTU leadership will “resort to anything they can to divert voters’ attention to get their candidate over the finish line.”

“The more they can divert attention from Johnson’s candidacy — the fact that he’s still bought and paid for by the Chicago Teachers Union — the more they can try to make it about me, the less he has to say about his plans to defund the cops. The less he has to say about how he would stand up to the teachers union so that the money to support our children is actually flowing into the classrooms. And the less he’ll have to say about his plans to increase our taxes on working families and businesses by $800 million,” he said.

The union leaders who showed up Monday at Plumbers Chicago Training Center, 1400 W. Washington Boulevard, had plenty to say about Johnson’s tax plan.

Jim Sweeney is the always outspoken president of Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers that contributed $1 million to vanquished mayoral challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and has made the same financial commitment to Vallas.

Sweeney said Monday it “really pains me to be here and not be standing up here for a union brother” in Johnson. But union leaders are not backing the former teacher and CTU organizer because they’re concerned Johnson’s tax increases will have a “chilling effect” on the Chicago economy.

Sweeney told reporters at the news conference to “look out that window” and count the construction cranes. Each crane, he said, is a project with roughly “300 union brothers” working on it.

“The pipeline is empty for work coming in the future. We’ve got one or two major projects left. The city needs to have a different approach. And that approach isn’t putting another income tax on citizens of this city. ... It’s not putting a tax on transactions at the Board of Trade because they can flip a switch today and move somewhere else,” Sweeney said.

“We have a broken Building Department in this city, where it takes forever for developers to get a project started. That’s got to change. Paul knows how to do it. The approach to public schools — we agree with Paul’s approach. It’s been successful around the country. He’s a CEO that knows how to put a business plan together and run a budget. That’s what the city needs,” Sweeney said, adding, for Johnson’s benefit, that “we know what we heard you say when it comes to defunding the police.”

Sweeney said his son is a Chicago Police officer who “needs help” and reinforcements.

“I now am a conceal-and-carry person. I never had a gun in my house. My father and my mother never had a gun in the house. And now, I feel like I need to have a gun in my house. That is not the Chicago that I grew up in. We have to get control of the crime in this city.”

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