A Union Man, A Business Mayor

The City That Works

1 of 7

Richard J. Daley's father, Michael Daley, was a 50-year member of the Sheet Metal Workers Union. The Mayor cultivated strong ties with that union and with other unions. RJD_ 03_01_0003_0001_001 and RJD_03_0003_0001_002

Richard J. Daley’s father, Michael Daley, was a 50-year member of the Sheet Metal Workers Union. The Mayor cultivated strong ties with that union and with other unions. RJD_ 03_01_0003_0001_001 and RJD_03_0003_0001_002

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

Sheet Metal Workers Union float honoring Richard J. Daley, 1976. RJD_04_01_0029_0004_002

Sheet Metal Workers Union float honoring Richard J. Daley, 1976. RJD_04_01_0029_0004_002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 of 7

The mayor negotiated with the Chicago Teachers Union. Click on image to play video.

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

3 of 7

Richard J. Daley at a podium overlooking an audience of 10,000 diners during a Labor dinner at McCormick Place that was arranged as a thank you tribute to the mayor during his sixth term in office, 1975. RJD_04_01_0061_0003_013

Richard J. Daley at a podium overlooking an audience of 10,000 diners during a Labor dinner at McCormick Place that was arranged as a thank you tribute to the mayor during his sixth term in office, 1975. RJD_04_01_0061_0003_013

4 of 7

Richard J. Daley speaking before the Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry, ca. 1959. Photo: Pics Photographers. RJD_04_01_0013_0003_020.

Richard J. Daley speaking before the Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry, ca. 1959. Photo: Pics Photographers. RJD_04_01_0013_0003_020.

 

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

At the International Dairy Show and Rodeo [part of Chicago's 120th Anniversary Celebration], 1959. RJD_04_01_0014_0010_001

At the International Dairy Show and Rodeo [part of Chicago’s 120th Anniversary Celebration], 1959. RJD_04_01_0014_0010_001

 

5 of 7

Richard J. Daley and two men at U.S. Steel Corp. Board of Directors reception at Sheraton-Blackstone Hotel, 1963. Photo: Pics Photographers. RJD_04_01_0022_0010_009

Richard J. Daley and two men at U.S. Steel Corp. Board of Directors reception at Sheraton-Blackstone Hotel, 1963. Photo: Pics Photographers. RJD_04_01_0022_0010_009

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

6 of 7

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

Pages from a pamphlet explaining the services that property taxes provide. Published by the Cook County Assessor's office, ca. 1958-1974. RJD_02_01_0055_0001_013bc

Pages from a pamphlet explaining the services that property taxes provide. Published by the Cook County Assessor’s Office, ca. 1958-1974. RJD_02_01_0055_0001_013bc