CHICAGO – A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) on Thursday, dealing an embarrassing blow to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in advance of Tuesday’s runoff election. Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Locals 241 and 308 filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the CTA, whose President is a political appointee and longtime ally of Emanuel, sought to ban political speech among transit workers because they support Emanuel’s opponent, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
“Justice has been served in Chicago today, despite Mayor Emanuel’s best efforts,” declared ATU International President Larry Hanley.
“When Rahm took office four years ago, he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. But when transit workers stood up to exercise their First Amendment rights in support of Chuy Garcia, Rahm’s appointees at the CTA illegally told them to sit down and shut up,” Hanley continued.
Emanuel has demonstrated disregard for the First Amendment before. During a speech at the Bloomberg Business Summit in 2011, the Mayor made this infamous remark: “I used to tell President Clinton. When it comes to the American press, the First Amendment is highly overrated.”
“Rahm uses piles of cash he collects from out of town billionaires, including Republicans, to drown out the voices of regular Chicagoans, but that wasn’t enough,” Hanley said. “He told public workers they could not even talk to each other at work about their concerns and this campaign. The Constitution of the United States appears to disagree.”
Hanley said volunteers and organizers would be back in bus garages and train terminals on Thursday and Friday to ensure members know about the TRO and feel confident in exercising their First Amendment and voting rights.
Photo: Garcia near a CTA station. In a blow to Rahm Emanuel, a federal judge has ruled that CTA workers may discuss support for his election. | PBS.org