The CTA's transit workers unions are planning a rally at the CTA's West Loop headquarters from 10 am till noon during the agency' Wednesday board meeting.
The notice of the rally states: "On
Nov. 12, the CTA Board passed a criminal and racist budget for next
year that includes massive layoffs and services cuts. 2,000 workers
have been given pink slips. Bus service will be reduced by 18% and
train service by 9%. The service cuts will: Double CTA wait times; Cut
vital service in low income areas; Reduce service hours; and close
Wow. "Criminal and racist." I mean, geez, I'm as upset as anyone that service is being cut and people are losing jobs. But criminal and racist? Here's how John Beacham, coordinator of NoCTAcuts.org, explains that:
"The budget is criminal for cutting services and jobs during an economic
crisis in the wealthiest country in the history of the world while the
bankers swim in taxpayer funded bonuses. It is racist for cutting
services disproportionately on the South and West sides, where people
need CTA service the most."
As far as what they hope to accomplish with the rally, Beacham said:
"The budget can be overturned and the people have the right to demand
that a new budget is passed. The CTA signed a contract with unions 2
years ago. The contract is not up. But the CTA is demanding that
workers accept changes that will be harmful to workers and riders. If
the workers who make CTA run everyday are being told to make changes,
riders and workers have the right to say no and struggle to reverse the
"This struggle is a simple matter of justice for working
people. CTA is a necessary and helpful service for millions. The
transit workers need their jobs. Riders need their service. The
economic crisis was not caused by transit workers or riders. And
there's no reason they, or any other workers, should suffer while the
bailed out bankers receive record bonuses. The money exists to fund
transit and save jobs."
Regarding where the money would come from, Beacham said:
"Our answer to the question of funding is fundamental and should be
accurately represented if there is to be any objective discussion about
transit funding. The funding exists; The CTA Board, the state and the
city are simply using the crisis to weaken the unions and cut service.
This is the wealthiest country in the world--a country that bails out
the big banks with billions and trillions of dollars every ten years
and is spending trillions on endless wars. Corporate handouts are a
daily occurence in Chicago."