Remembering Richard J. Daley

A Union Man, A business Mayor

Mayor Daley came from a union family. His father was a lifelong member of the Sheet Metal Workers International Union, Local 73 in Chicago.

He was a union man. But he wasn’t a coward with the unions. I sat in meetings where he was talking with union leaders. He’d say, “No. This is not good for business.” I can remember when we’d have meetings sometimes. People would want to come in and either establish a company or build something. He would call some of the business community in. And he’d say, “Look, you tell me whether this is good for Chicago or not. I’m going to leave the room. My criteria is that if it makes jobs, I’m for it. If it doesn’t make jobs, I’m against it.” And he’d leave. We’d sit and talk. Then he’d come back.

A. Robert Abboud, First National Bank of Chicago, President, interview excerpt, December 3, 2009

Ed Bedore recalls one negotiation between Mayor Daley's office and the Chicago Teachers Union:

My dad had a great relationship with the business community in Chicago, and most of the people were Republicans. But he knew that for the city to be sound, you needed a good sound business community and a strong relationship with them. And they respected him and were very supportive of him on issues. They disagreed at other times, but he knew that he needed that base for different causes, whether it was the university or whatever. The business community helped him tremendously. It wasn’t just politicians.

John Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, May 9, 2007

The business community, I think, always felt that if they had a problem, they could go to the mayor. The mayor would give them a fair hearing. And if he could help them, he would.

Newton Minow, Chair of Federal Communications Commission, interview excerpt, October 2, 2003

Did the mayor raise property taxes? Yes he did. What he also did was that he had this great relationship with the business community and the unions that built this downtown. They kept putting more and more millions of dollars on the tax rolls.

Ed Bedore, City Budget Director, interview excerpt, May 18, 2009

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