Talks Between CTA, Bus Drivers and Motormen Unions Reach Stalemate

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 14, 2012 8:30PM

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Photo via Chicago Transit Authority's Facebook Page.

When the Emanuel administration announced last week that CTA reached a labor deal with multiple labor unions on work rule concessions in exchange for a no-layoff guarantee, both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA President Forrest Claypool expressed optimism the unions representing bus drivers, train motormen and other personnel would follow suit.

Now it looks as though Claypool is tempering that optimism and has taken a hardliner stance as negotiations between the agency and Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 241 and 308 remain stalled. Crain’s Greg Hinz reports CTA is preparing to layoff employees with arbitration set to begin Friday. Local 308 President Robert Kelly told Hinz CTA is preparing “letters of notification” to workers who may be laid off. It’s the first legal step the agency must make in order to implement those layoffs.

This is also notable because Claypool is expected to present CTA’s 2013 budget Thursday and he’s under pressure to rein in expenses and avoid a fare hike. The deal with maintenance and construction unions last week is expected to save CTA $750,000 and Claypool wants to see work-rule changes implemented that would make it harder for drivers and motormen to claim sick days they say waste millions of dollars a year. In October 2011 CTA cut 200 jobs and revised vacation and sick time rules for non-union employees in an effort to curb expenses.

CTA released a statement Wednesday afternoon that said negotiations were ongoing and "our goal is to preserve jobs and services, but we need ATU's help."