Downtown parking lot needed, says SEIU

Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 880 are appealing to the City of Rockford to address a need: inadequate parking. A meeting was held at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the Local's union hall, 204 N. Church St., to discuss the problems people were having with trying to find parking. The union also welcomed input from Church Street and Mulberry Street customers and residents.

The Mayor's Office has been in contact with union officials, who sent a letter by e-mail addressed to "City of Rockford Officials," as follows:

My name is Angela Bailey. I'm the Lead Organizer for Service Employees International Union Local 880. Our union represents over 70,000 Home Care and Home Child Care providers in the state of Illinois, and just under 3,000 resides [sic] in the City of Rockford. If you are not familiar with our union, our members care for seniors, people with disabilities, and children, some of the most vulnerable in our city. Local 880 is the largest union in Illinois, 3rd in the nation, and 5th under the SEIU umbrella. We fight constantly for living wages, health coverage, and other benefits that many take for granted.

We have scored 17 victories in 2006, some being the first union ever to get a contract with health insurance, with the State for Home Child Care Providers, negotiated and won several rate increases for our private home care companies, along with playing and instrumental part in helping the new minimum wage increase pass the Senate and the House.

Gentlemen, the first victory Local 880 hopes to win in 2007 is adequate parking for small business owners & our members in the 200 block of [Church] St. & the 400 block of Mulberry. We would like to be able to use the empty lot adjacent to the satellite jail and the union hall for parking. Not only for our membership meetings & staff, the residents of the Lafayette Hotel, LFP Income Tax Services, Swilligan's Pub, Attitudes Hair Salon (all who make valuable contributions in the community), as well as other local businesses in the blocks mentioned need adequate parking as well. On any given day, parking is unbearable. If there is an event going on at the Metro Center, none of these businesses stand a chance for residential or customer parking of the aforementioned businesses. The parking lot across the street from office is privately owned, and the owners picks and chooses who he wants to sell slots to, and even after business hours, people risk being towed from the privately owned lot of Ed Hornbeck. The towing company lies in wait for a vehicle that doesn't have a permit sticker to park there. My staff and I have witnessed as many as 6 vehicles being towed from the lot, and the towing company isn't even careful when loading the car.

We have been circulating petitions to help get support in our plight for parking. Their [sic] have been write ups in the local papers, it may have even went [sic] to committee in the City Council. Now, we would like to invite you to hear in person from our members, business owners, customers and residents, why we need adequate parking.

I would like for you to join us Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at the SEIU Local 880 Union Hall @ 6:30 p.m. and help us work out our parking problems.

To RSVP, please contact me.

For The Union

Angela Bailey

Lead Organizer

SEIU Local 880

204 N. Church St.

Rockford, IL 61101

From the Jan. 17-23, 2007, issue

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