Over the past decade, the Service Employees International Union became the biggest campaign donor in Illinois, bankrolling candidates for everything from the governor’s office to City Council seats.
But in the wake of the bitter Chicago teachers’ strike, top SEIU political operative Jerry Morrison expressed regret at having marshaled support for some aldermen and vowed never to back them again.
Morrison singled out longtime allies Joe Moore (49th) and Rey Colon (35th) for being among 33 aldermen who signed a letter urging the teacher’s union not to strike.
In a recent post on Facebook, Morrison reminded Moore and Colon that organized labor helped them when they “had their backs against the wall politically” and barely repelled challengers.
“How quickly we forget,” Morrison wrote. “Professionally, I will do what I am told. Personally, don’t call again. I am done. Good luck gentlemen.”
Morrison, who has also criticized Mayor Rahm Emanuel, described the letter from the council majority as “Rahm’s anti-teacher letter.”
And he described Moore as “the new Helen Shiller” — a reference to the retired alderman who once was former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s most persistent critic but made her peace with the powers that be.
Moore also was a Daley critic, but he has been accused of being co-opted by Emanuel.
On Tuesday, Morrison told the Sun-Times that he stood by his online statements. Morrison is special assistant to SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff.
Other labor leaders also say they will not soon forget where aldermen stood during the teachers’ strike.