WBEZ | ATU local 308 http://www.wbez.org/tags/atu-local-308 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en CTA considers ending employee free rides http://www.wbez.org/story/cta-considers-ending-employee-free-rides-93934 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-10/3998199795_ce2b6fec6d.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Unionized Chicago Transit Authority employees could face losing their free ride passes.</p><p>CTA President Forrest Claypool said on Tuesday that ending free rides is one money-saving option the agency is looking at in its upcoming union contract negotiations, which he said will help fill the agency's $277 million budget deficit.</p><p>"It's something we're discussing with the union, among other changes," said Claypool, "but it's a collective bargaining process."</p><p>Amalgamated Transit Authority Local 308 President Robert Kelly, who represents many CTA employees, said ending free rides for employees would not save that much money.</p><p>"I don't know what he's trying to gain out of this," said Kelly. "Obviously, he's trying to gain some money, and this is stretching it to the max. I don't believe that the plan would save him more than or three million dollars a year."</p><p>Claypool says he doesn't know how much money could be saved by ending the free rides.</p><p>CTA hopes to save about $160 million next year from re-negotiating union contracts.</p></p> Thu, 10 Nov 2011 16:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cta-considers-ending-employee-free-rides-93934 Emanuel defends CTA's budget proposal http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-defends-ctas-budget-proposal-93342 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-20/3513997518_757471f40f.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday defended the Chicago Transit Authority's plan to close its budget deficit largely through union contract negotiations.</p><p>The CTA is proposing changes to union work rules that it says would save the agency $160 million to avoid fare increases and service cuts. Those savings, however, are contingent on union leaders agreeing to the proposed reforms. Emanuel says it's time for the unions to concede some of their contract benefits.</p><p>"In the past the commuter paid, just two years ago, higher rates," said Emanuel. "In the past, the commuter, just a year ago, paid in service cuts. It's time for everyone else to contribute to strengthening the system."</p><p>CTA says an agreement must be reached by July 1 of next year to avoid more fare hikes, service cuts or layoffs.</p><p>Meanwhile, union leaders have called the proposed budget union busting.</p></p> Thu, 20 Oct 2011 22:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-defends-ctas-budget-proposal-93342 CTA puts potential fare hikes, cuts on union's shoulders http://www.wbez.org/story/cta-puts-potential-fare-hikes-cuts-unions-shoulders-93306 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-20/CTA accordion bus Flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The head of the Chicago Transit Authority says no fare increases and service cuts are slated for next year under a proposed budget that would close the agency's more than $250 million deficit.</p><p>CTA President Forrest Claypool proposed a $1.24 billion budget for 2012 - a five percent reduction from last year - saying the agency would make cuts in management and renegotiate union contracts that expire this year to fill the $277 million deficit. Claypool said the agency could save around $160 million by getting rid of some perks unionized CTA workers get, such as guaranteed paid overtime and paid time to reinstate a driver's license after a DUI charge.</p><p>"It is incumbent upon us to ask our labor partners to work with us first to eliminate archaic work rules that benefit a handful at the expense of our customers and their own employees," said Claypool.</p><p>But those savings are contingent on union leaders agreeing to the reforms, which Claypool says are necessary to close the budget gap.</p><p>"The majority of workers do not game the system or benefit from most of the work rules, but there's big money there," said Claypool. "And we can protect their jobs and the service they provide if we can have - basically tackle work rules that really have encrusted like barnacles on the system over three decades."</p><p>Claypool said an agreement must be reached by July 1 of next year to avoid fare hikes, service cuts or layoffs. He said if no agreement is reached by that date, more than 1,000 CTA workers could be laid off.</p><p>Meanwhile, CTA union members are criticizing the plan. Robert Kelly, who heads the Local 308 Amalgamated Transit Union, called the proposal "union busting." He said he'll let union members decide on how much they're willing to concede.</p><p>"My job is to negotiate them the best possible contract. That's what a president does," said Kelly. "They're going to have the ultimate decision. If they should vote, 'no, we're not going to give anything in,' then there might be consequences for some of them. We know that."</p></p> Wed, 19 Oct 2011 22:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cta-puts-potential-fare-hikes-cuts-unions-shoulders-93306 Transit union fights back against CTA budget claims http://www.wbez.org/story/transit-union-fights-back-against-cta-budget-claims-92825 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-04/cta trains_flickr_mikemiley.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The head of the union representing Chicago Transit Authority rail workers says he doesn't believe union members are completely to blame for CTA budget problems.</p><p>CTA president Forrest Claypool <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/cta-facing-huge-budget-shortfall-2012-92812">said Tuesday</a> that the agency is short $277 million heading into 2012, due to union contracts he said give workers the highest cost-adjusted salaries in the nation.</p><p>"I have openly said I will sit down and talk about any and every issue and put it on the table," said ATU Local 308 president Robert Kelly. "Doesn't mean we're going to give it up, but we'll talk about it, we'll see what we can do to help. I understand today's economy, I know it's bad out there. But fighting this in the media is not going to be a winning situation for anybody."</p><p>Claypool also criticized the employee absenteeism rates, which he said cost the CTA $40 million in 2011. But Kelly refuted that the number could be that large, and said he was disappointed that he hadn't been told about the CTA's interest in changing work rules.</p><p>"We do not deny there is an absenteesm problem, we can't control that," said Kelly. But, "We do not hire people. Chicago Transit Authority hires individuals."</p><p>Kelly said he believes he fare hikes are "inevitable"; Claypool wouldn't say whether they should be expected.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 05 Oct 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/transit-union-fights-back-against-cta-budget-claims-92825