CTA security beefed up with stimulus funds; details on CTA pay cuts

Almost $5 million in federal stimulus funds awarded Wednesday will be used by the Chicago police to increase security and protect against terrorist attacks on the CTA.

The grant will cover additional officers for the city's mass transit unit, fund extra canine teams to sniff out explosives, and pay for mobile bomb-detection equipment that can be deployed quickly on trains and buses and be used for screening at stations.

According to the Tribune report:

"The grant to Chicago will pay for police officers to "help provide
counter-measures at critical CTA stations," said Roderick Drew, spokesman for
the Chicago Police Department. The money to the police department will pay for 12 officers, plus equipment
and training, for three years, Drew said.

This is excellent news. We need all the help we can get with CTA security.

Details on CTA pay cuts. When CTA President Richard Rodriguez told us last month he had found $35 million in cuts and savings to avert service cuts, part of those savings were $2.9 million in furloughs and foregone raises for non-union employees.

Here are the details on those cuts, according to a CTA spokesperson.

  • All non -union employees will be forgoing raises this year. That's 1,206 employees out of about 10,500. Raises averaging 3% had been budgeted. Union employees received 3% raises in January.
  • Management level employees (312) will take the remaining scheduled holidays without pay: Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas.
  • Plus, employees at the vice president level and above (26) will have to take 3 furlough days on top of the unpaid days off.
  • It works out to the equivalent of 14 unpaid days for VP and above, 11 for the general manager group, and 8 for the broader non union group.

Wellington station opens today. Congrats to the CTA for opening the last Brown Line station, on time and on budget.  The Wellington station is the last of the Brown Line station to open after a full rehab.

The CTA's $540 million Brown Line expansion project has gone swimmingly, and they deserve credit for making the deadlines they've set and staying within budget.

The final missing pieces are the Fullerton Belmont stations. Elevators and escalators still need to finished in these stations, which remained open during the rehab phase.

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  • While this is being portrayed (by the CTA at least) as Rodriguez doing this because the RTA doesn't have the funds, and cut its allotment to the CTA, it is interesting that it was portrayed in Clout Street among other sources as "... Mayor Richard Daley today announced a plan for top employees at six other agencies he controls to forgo raises and take furlough days to save more than $18 million.

    The latest cutbacks impact more than 2,000 non-union employees at Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Transit Authority, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Park District, the Chicago Housing Authority and the Public Building Commission, Daley announced at a City Hall news conference.

    The boards for all six agencies still must approve the plan, but Daley appoints the members."

    While the cuts may be necessary, at least we know who is in charge, and it definitely is not the CTA Board. So much for such pretenses as "regional cooperation" and the need for the suburbs to get on another CTA funding bandwagon.
    ______________________________

    BTW, what happened to the Preview function?? The little "Leave a Comment" box is too small to proofread anything.

  • Speaking of stimulus funds, what's up with the new announcement on all the buses that "This clean air hybrid bus was purchased with federal stimulus funds." This is rather curious when one is riding on 40 ft. non-hybrid New Flyer that was among the first batch delivered three years ago.

  • In reply to marthat3:

    Martha: That was noted on chicagobus.org. Apparently when an announcement is programmed into the Clever Devices system, it goes into all buses.

  • In reply to jack:

    I guess maybe those devices aren't so clever after all.

  • "All non -union employees will be forgoing raises this year." It took them until late July to decide that? You mean to tell me that they dipped into the capital fund back in the Spring, but they still were considering giving the non-union raises sometime this year? Really?

    I don't know what this means: "It works out to the equivalent of 14 unpaid days for VP and above, 11 for the general manager group, and 8 for the broader non union group." Are they saying that 3% times 260 workdays = 8 work days. So forgoing a 3% raise is the equivalent of 8 unpaid days?? Ok, the math works, but who thinks or speaks that way? I've never heard such a thing. When they give out 3% raises, you'll never hear them say, "we just gave our workers 8 more days of unworked pay?"

    So the big question is: on January 2010 will they give out these raises to their Union just like they did this year? The have to by contract, but isn't that why they should be talking with them now? And at least talking about the inevitable service cuts (i.e., bus driver layoffs) may help get a negotiated position to at least save some services in the new year. The older union members are just going to do what they always do: dump it on the younger members, and we all lose transit service in the process.

  • In reply to JMan01:

    I think (but can't prove) that with the ceremony of Huberman and the unions saying that they compromised the pending arbitration in connection with the passage of the 2008 RTA Act, I don't think the CTA wants to reopen again. It probably would be dumped back into arbitration again, and CTA never wins there.

    Also, as I previously mentioned, you can't accomplish that much on the operating side without service cutbacks, since no one has yet figured out how to drive a bus or train with less than one operator.

    Also, CTA lost on its claim (widely touted in the media) that its employees are not allowed to strike. Opinion in Chicago Transit Authority v. Illinois Labor Relations Board, Nov. 6, 2008. So, if you are looking for a transit strike (and maybe it is time for one) when a pay cut is being offered ...

  • In reply to JMan01:

    Why shouldn't forgoing raises be among the last-resort tactics? Due to inflation, you are essentially cutting the pay for all non-union employees. I think it's reasonable to assume many of them deserve raises, too, even if the CTA overall needs cash.

    Unfortunately, the "And at least talking about the inevitable service cuts (i.e., bus driver layoffs) may help get a negotiated position to at least save some services in the new year." doesn't seem too hopeful considering how some of the unions have been dealing with Daley's layoffs recently ...........

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