A longtime CTA Tattler reader tipped me off to this Fox Chicago News story I missed last week:
Three CTA bus drivers fired after they were caught allegedly drinking and driving are now back behind the wheel, and the CTA appears to regret its decision. A Fox Chicago News/ Better Government Association investigation found the process that allowed the drivers to get their jobs back is a lesson in Chicago-style backroom wheeling and dealing.
The bus drivers were all charged with drunk driving while they were off-duty and were subsequently fired after they lost their Commercial Driver's Licenses. Under CTA rules, any driver who does not have a valid CDL for 180 days can be terminated.
CTA President Rich Rodriguez said the agency took the extraordinary step of rehiring those drivers as something of an olive branch. Earlier this year, the CTA was millions of dollars in the red and needed to restructure its labor agreements. Rodriguez said they allowed the former employees with DUI's to get back behind the wheel as an enticement to get the Amalgamated Transit Union to the bargaining table to talk about furlough days and cutbacks.
Andy Shaw, executive director of the Better Government Association, couldn't have said it better: "You don't buy labor peace by jeopardizing the safety of riders by rehiring people with drunken driving records."