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CTA Workers: We're Fed Up

By Kevin Robinson in News on Nov 16, 2007 6:45PM

When Mike Madigan and Mayor Daley declined Balgojevich's invitation to meet (again) yesterday to try to work out a deal to fund transit, Rick Harris, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, which represents rail workers on the CTA, told the press that "we are about at wits' end." Harris was reacting to the looming "Doomsday 3", as the RTA's labor unions are concerned that a plan to overhaul pension and health care funds may be in jeopardy if an agreement to fund transit in the region can't be reached soon . "Maybe we have to show exactly what a ‘Doomsday' looks like.” Although hesitant to use the word "strike," he did say that some sort of job action would leave Chicago without buses and trains.

The CTA said through a spokeswoman that, while sympathetic to the frustrations of transit workers, the agency "will not tolerate any job action." The CTA considers tranist operators "essential service" workers, who are prohibited by state law from striking. Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon said that while they weren't talking about an outright strike, an unspecified "job action" could take place. "If there's not something that comes together . . . what [alternative] do we have left?" he told the Tribune. Characteristically, Blagojevich seemed optimistic. "If all the leaders truly are committed to reaching an agreement," Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff told the Sun-Times, then a deal can be made by Thanksgiving. If by "deal" Blagojevich means more temper tantrums, then yes, it's doable by Thanksgiving.

Photo by Joseph P