09/19/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Will City Layoffs Be Political? Daley Insists Not

Mayor Daley on Tuesday scoffed at a federal hiring monitor's demand for guarantees to prevent the threatened layoff of well over 1,000 city employees from turning into a political purge.

"A layoff is done because of union rules. I don't know where you get that" concern about firings based on politics, Daley told reporters after a firefighters graduation ceremony at Navy Pier.

"That's just a phony headline. It's done by union rules. I'm sorry. About 99 percent of the people are unionized in the city of Chicago. So, don't make up phony stories."

In fact, just over 80 percent of the city's 38,760-employee workforce belong to unions that base layoffs on seniority and give fired workers "bumping rights" to other city jobs with similar titles under certain conditions.

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