CTA bus drivers union weighs strike to protest layoffs

The CTA bus drivers union is considering a strike to protest planned layoffs of about 1,800 members of the Local 241 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, according to a CBS2 Chicago report.

The union president, Darrell Jefferson, goes on to insist the CTA's budget deficit is actually $500 million, not the $300 million cited by the CTA. But the union will continue to resist any givebacks, including furlough days.

Furthermore, Jefferson says: "Metropolitan Transit Act says, in section 28, that management and
exempt people should make up only 3 percent of the total number of
employees. We estimate CTA being somewhere like 15 to 18 percent.
Laying off people and you're still gonna be heavy in management, I
think you're asking for a war more than a layoff."

So, we'll have to see how this war plays out.

Meanwhile, the Civic Federation of Chicago has defended the CTA's budget with fare hikes and service cuts as "responsible."

Philly transit workers strike.
Philadelphia transit workers certainly aren't afraid to strike. But at least they waited till a few hours after the final World Series game in the City of Brotherly Love.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority buses, trolleys and subways were idled by the surprise pre-dawn strike yesterday.

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  • It wouldn't be the first time that the MTA was ignored. In fact, it appears that very little of that statute is enforced. The 3% requirement is hidden among a lot of verbiage, but it is there. I've frequently said that sections 19 and 27 have been consistently violated in the past 10 years.

    The original idea was that the CTA was supposed to be run like a business. Maybe that business was ENRON, Lehman Brothers (sounds familiar) or the like, but that's not what the legislature apparently intended in 1945.

    At least that legislature didn't mince words, unlike the 2007 version, which loaded up the RTA Act with such caveats as "upon the affirmative vote of 9 of the then Directors," thus assuring that it was impotent.

    Hence, you can see why I don't get all up in arms about the legislature not doing something that is futile. It doesn't matter what the law says to people like Daley and his appointees on the CTA Board.

  • Furthermore, Jefferson says: "Metropolitan Transit Act says, in section 28, that management and exempt people should make up only 3 percent of the total number of employees. We estimate CTA being somewhere like 15 to 18 percent. Laying off people and you're still gonna be heavy in management, I think you're asking for a war more than a layoff."

    Maybe Jefferson should hire someone with reading comprehension skills and legal experience to explain the difference between management, exempt and professional. Not everyone who isn't in the union is management or exempt. The CTA has about 10% (not 15 or 20%) professional, or non-union-represented, staff. A smaller subsection of that group is management, or considered exempt by federal labor laws. The lawyers, accountants, real estate folks, etc. who are not in a union, but are also not management, don't count in that 3%.
    You'd think that Darrell would leave the talking to someone who understands such things.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Apparently, you can't read.

    The statute says:

    "The total number of employees occupying exempt offices, positions, or grades of employment may not exceed 3% of the total employment of the Authority."

    It does not say "in the operating division," or "except in headquarters."

  • In reply to jack:

    You' appear to be saying exactly what I'm saying - the total number of exempt.... may not exceed 3% of total employment.
    And it apparently doesn't. The remainder of that 10% non-union staff are not considered to hold "exempt offices, exempt positions or exempt grades of employment" - at least not by federal labor laws. "Exempt" is a specific, defined class of workers. Doesn't matter where they work - operating division or headquarters. I don't believe I made that distinction.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Then you have to post verifiable statistics on how many clerks, etc. are at Lake and Clinton and 120 N. Racine who are eligible to get overtime, vs. all the "lawyers, accountants, real estate folks, etc." who certainly are exempt (I was a lawyer within a corporation, although not an attorney, and was exempt" and are "occupying exempt offices, positions, or grades of employment" within the CTA.

    Considering, for instance, all the spokespersons, construction overseers, etc. who fall within that category, I doubt that you can do it. Exempt does not only mean garage superintendents and foremen (although people were claiming here that there were too many of them, too).

    So, no I don't agree with your reading of the situation, unless you post the statistics needed (i.e. how many CTA employees of any kind are eligible to get overtime as opposed to how many are not).

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Man in power distorts truth to further his agenda.

    News at 11...

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Why are none of thetransit blogs covering the C.T.A. community meetings?

  • In reply to JamesReyes:

    If you mean the budget hearings, I am surprised that the press isn't covering them, in that I am sure there are various quotations for protesters, which the press usually likes to report. Again, I am even more surprised with regard to the Pace paratransit budget hearings, in that there are complainers, anyway, but when they hear that the fare is going up to $5.00 if Pace has its way, the complainers must be coming out of the woodwork in extreme shock. However, not a peep from the press.

    Of course, I don't expect most bloggers to have independent reporters at the hearings, if the actual media do not think it is worth reporting, for such reasons as the budgets are foregone conclusions unless someone rides to the rescue, but all indications are that nobody (certainly not Quinn) is going to do so this time.

  • In reply to jack:

    I went to the hearings before the last Doomsday. They were just a bunch of people bitching (well duh!), and it really wasn't worth my time.

  • In reply to jack:

    Does anyone else find it odd that last Doomsday (2007) there was a $110M upcoming deficit for FY2008 and proposals for service cuts and fare hikes were much more severe than they are this for round, which is necessitated by a $300M deficit in FY2010. Admittedly there were structural budget issues that were supposed to be alleviated by the .25% county tax and real estate transfer tax last time around. Curious, however that last time there was a proposal to cut about 50% of service and raise fares to levels similar to the most recent Doomsday, which, by the way, is not being called a Doomsday. Perception vs. reality is always troublesome.

  • In reply to jack:

    I have been saying this for years!! We can argu over who is or isn't exempt all day. The definition I got is if you are not covered under a collective bargining agreement. Or non union. The CTA has tried to turn it around to at will employees but that was added much later in an amendment. Even if Jeffersons numbers are high. Go on to the mimms system at any terminal go to the phone directory and search by title using "manager" and it will give you most everone with manager in their title. Last I checked it was 439 Now do "cheif" and "project" and "managerII" or "2" "Senior" start adding up these numbers and you will see where the money goes.Had a manager last year started at 58K and after 2 years got a 30% raise now making 76K!!! This is what is going on all the time! We don't have any money to give you raises or to hire more people but they find a place for another mangers or consultants and so on. Bottom line is we need the buses on the street we need them maintained by our staff and not out sourced to substandard repair facilities.

  • In reply to richschuler:

    >>We can argu over who is or isn't exempt all day.

    We don't need to. The federal government defines for us who is exempt and who isn't.

  • In reply to richschuler:

    If they define it post it. I see that it seems to be a salaried non union employee who isn't eligible for overtime. CTA Total numbers were just under 11,000 last year. That would give 330 total number of exempt positions available. Yeah I think they have that covered.

  • In reply to richschuler:

    Hah...the Bus Union is going to be crushed in the next labor negotiations. Too bad, so sad. The bloated unions will soon be much smaller. Hope they enjoy their 3.5% pay increase.

  • In reply to jack:

    The C.T.A. should start a free print and online magazine for commuters called" Seatwise ".Its primary purpose would be to sell advertising.Freelancers that were more interested in getting exposure or padding their resumes than hefty paychecks would provide the content.

  • In reply to JamesReyes:

    James, you are just chock full of ideas! You should be a CTA consultant and get paid for your wisdom.

  • In reply to JamesReyes:

    I doubt anyone is really interested but,here is another money making idea for the C.T.A.
    Those tiny rooftop windmills could be erected where space was available on el structures.Besides natural wind,the motion of passing trains could turn the windmills.On some surface lines,you have vehicles on the expressway that could cause the windmills to turn too.Environmental grants could pay for installation and maintenance costs.If artists designed the windmills, art or tourist program money could possibly used.And if they were manufactured as part of a job training program,job training money could be used.

  • In reply to JamesReyes:

    There HAS been some broadcast media coverage of the CTA budget hearings; why the major newspapers haven't been there is a question for them to answer--perhaps their own budget problems have thinned out their staffs too much to attend in person just to report on gripes. As for these blogs, there's nothing stopping anyone who attended from posting their "report" of what occurred. If Mr. Reyes attended any of the hearings, for example, he could offer an account here and on the other relevant blogs.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Going Public covered last night's public hearing.

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