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CTA Budget Passes, But Labor Concessions It Relies On Are Unlikely

By Chris Bentley in News on Nov 18, 2011 9:40PM

2011_11_18_CTA_logo.png CTA's 2012 budget passed easily Tuesday, promising no fare hikes, service cuts or layoffs. Instead, the $1.24 billion budget relies on widespread work-rule changes from labor unions.

But the Amalgamated Transit Union has not accepted those changes, which total $240 million in savings by the end of 2013. So far, the Tribune reported, union leaders remain opposed to CTA President Forrest Claypool's plan:

"You have made it very clear that your real agenda is to make your employees the scapegoat,'' Robert Kelly, president of the union's Local 308, which represents CTA rail workers, wrote in a letter to Claypool on Tuesday that began: "Put up or shut up!"

Kelly called the budget "irresponsible." With the current contract between CTA and labor set to expire Dec. 31, their historically icy relationship is tenuous already. A bitter run-up to the budget proposal included a swipe from Claypool about employee absenteeism.

If no agreement is reached over the labor changes, Claypool will have to do something else about the CTA's $277 million 2012 budget deficit. The battle could drag on for months or even years. No date has been set for negotiations.