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Union Workers Declare Their Love for 'Tough Guy' Rahm in New Ad

By Ted Cox | March 23, 2015 10:22am
 Mayor Rahm Emanuel laughs with Unite Here union members at Monday's news conference.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel laughs with Unite Here union members at Monday's news conference.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

THE LOOP — A union group of 15,000 workers in the hospitality industry is declaring its "Rahm Love" in a television campaign to be launched Monday.

Unite Here Local 1 said the spots would run on broadcast TV. Karen Kent, president of the union local, said they were paid for by the union to benefit the re-election campaign of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"It's all legal," Kent said. "It's an in-kind contribution."

"The mayor's a tough guy who stood up for us and raised our pay," one airport worker says in a 15-second spot.

"That's Rahm Love," declares another worker.

The union local says it represents 15,000 workers in the hospitality industry in the Chicago area and northwest Indiana, with workers employed at airports, hotels, restaurants, convention centers and casinos. It says it's "a union of housekeepers, lunchroom attendants, cooks, bartenders, bellmen, servers and dishwashers." Unite Here says it has 300,000 members nationwide.

Kent said union members were directly affected by Emanuel's push to increase tourism, from 38 million visitors a year before he took office to more than 50 million tourists, and by an increase in convention business.

"I'm pleased to have both Unite's support and over 30 kitchen union locals," Emanuel said. He cited the city's climb past Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla., in attracting conventions.

Emanuel listed the support of several unions strengthened by tourism, conventions and construction and dismissed a question about how contributions from billionaires like Ken Griffin had given him a significant fundraising edge over Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D-Chicago) in the April 7 runoff.

Pointing to the Unite Here members at Monday's news conference, Emanuel said, "None of these people look like Ken Griffin."

The union local endorsed the mayor last week, along with unions associated with McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

"We're very happy to have the support of Unite Here Local 1," said Steve Mayberry, spokesman for the Emanuel campaign. "The mayor has worked very closely with the hospitality industry in an effort to create jobs, in an effort to deal with them fairly and equitably."

Asked if the additional runoff campaign had altered any spring-break plans he had with his family, with three kids off at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools through this week, Emanuel said, "Right now, spring break is down to their seeing 'Rahm Love' commercials and asking where their love is."

Check out more of the pro-Rahm union ads here:

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