CTA President Forrest Claypool and rail union chief Robert Kelly appeared together on the Chicago Tonight Monday.
That was the last thing they agreed on.
And it wasn't pretty. Here are two choice lines:
Claypool: "Mr. Kelly gets an A for rhetoric, but an F on math."
Kelly: "Mr. Claypool gets an A for BS and and F for telling the truth."
Claypool uttered his line about Kelly when Kelly said that the 9,000 bus and rail union workers would have to give up about $20,000 per member a year to reach the $160 million in cuts Claypool is asking from the unions. Claypool explained union members would see reductions in overtime, not base salary. "And we will work to gain savings through attrition."
Kelly called "BS" on Claypool when the prez ticked off "antiquated" union rules such as workers earning 2.5 times base pay by working on their birthdays. Kelly said they really earn 2 times base pay - and said many other companies offer that. (Folks, please let us know if you get paid double by working on your natal day.)
Claypool repeated one of my favorite lines of his: "The CTA is seeking $160 million work rules that are encrusted like barnacles on an old ship that keep it from moving." Gotta say that's a great image.
View the Chicago Tonight interview.
Bottom line, it doesn't look like the union will agree to the CTA's demands for $160 million in work rule changes.
And if they don't, Claypool said he'll look at service cuts first, with fare hikes as the last resort.
It's too early for Doomsday scenarios.