No fare hikes, service cuts in 2012 CTA budget - if union cooperates

The CTA released a proposed 2012 budget today with no fare hikes or services. Instead, it relies on other cuts - especially in union work rules and pay - in closing the $277 million deficit announced earlier, Crain's Chicago Business is reporting.

See more coverage in CTA Tattler later.

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  • I guess we will have to wait until it is posted. However, I can't conceive (a) if Walker's report says that CTA has a surplus compared to budget so far this year, how a $277 million deficit for next year arose (b) how he can get $160 million in relief through work rule changes and (c) how he can book anything in labor savings without negotiating it (not even Emanuel got that in the school labor statute).

    So while some commenters are already yelling yipee on other boards, it may be early.

    Also, I would still like an explanation why Pace and Metra management had to bring the proposed budgets before their boards, but CTA didn't, although this only goes to prove further that the CTA Board is a nonentity.

  • Ah geez. Come on! Who is Claypool and the board kidding? They are going to be in for a rude awakening very shortly. The union leaders and senior members simply do not care if 1,000 of their fellow union members are laid off and CTA service is drastically cut. This is what happened in 2010. They refused any concessions and the CTA board kept trying to point out they are sacrificing jobs, but in the end the majority of the union members with power only cared about themselves and knew their jobs were safe. The CTA unions are not going to go along with any cuts to benefits, "work rules" or give up their pay increases. If this languishes too much past December 31st, the threat of CTA unions going on strike is likely. It will again probably come down to a matter of service cuts and fare increases. I'd rather have a small fare increase say 25 to 50 cents a ride and not ask the unions to fill the entire $266 million gap right off the bat. The news releases from the union leaders saying they will not stand for ANY pay or benefits cuts is probably just hours away. Buckle up, its going to be a bumpy ride.

  • In reply to Matt:

    I agree with most of this. I'm not so sure how quickly they could call a strike, in that the usual process is to take the contract to interest arbitration, and there are prerequisites under the Public Labor Relations Act to calling a strike, including that the parties have not agreed to turn the dispute over to binding arbitration.

    However, in the dog and pony show preceding the 2008 tax hike, when Jefferson threatened a strike, and Huberman chucked in the background, but then said that they couldn't strike. That was wrong, however, in that Huberman, being a ex-cop, tried to equate CTA workers to public safety employees, but that is limited to police, fire, and paramedics.

    It would be an interesting scenario if Claypool declared on Dec. 31 that there would be layoffs and service cuts in Feb. because the union did not give into his demands, but the union says that Claypool did not bargain in good faith at the expiration of the contract. Probably then the whole thing would be thrown into the Illinois Public Labor Relations Board (sort of similar to the CPS case before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board), and then conceivably CTA would be stuck with a big, unbudgeted backpay award.

    So, it may be bumpier than you thought.

  • Thanks Claypool, now we know that if anything doesn't go smoothly, it's definitely the employees fault, and certainly not the management. After all, why should the face of the company be able to make a livable income? All that really matters is that a bunch of people downtown, pushing papers, make 3-4 times as much as the people who actually make CTA move, if we can't keep that going, well clearly it's a case of greed.

  • Goldminetime says:

    "All that really matters is that a bunch of people downtown, pushing papers, make 3-4 times as much as the people who actually make CTA move .."

    Uh, you might want to be very cautious about assumptions and stereotypes--and this is especially true when one considers benefits and pensions.

  • In reply to vise77:

    Well, let's see, as a bus operator I made 24grand last year, no paid time off, no holiday pay, I'm not in line to ever collect a pension, but I do have a HMO. Yeah, it's definitely greedy people like me at CTA that are screwing things up.

  • And of course the RTA does it's "Ostrich Act" and hides it's head in the sand about CTA, and Metra.

    CTA/City Hall tries to find a way to make the Unions the "Bad Guys" - and the fault of all the CTA financial problems.

    I wonder if the Unions would like some information to fight back with - like lack of any inter-agency coordination/cooperation in any way, shape, or form to reduce costs - as has been pointed out to the Agency Boards many times by many people, was "promised" by Da' Mayor after the election - and is as dead as 65 million year old dinosaur bones.

    The hearings coming are going to be very interesting.

  • "Well, let's see, as a bus operator I made 24grand last year, no paid time off, no holiday pay, I'm not in line to ever collect a pension, but I do have a HMO. Yeah, it's definitely greedy people like me at CTA that are screwing things up."

    No one said it was you personally; these things are all about averages and collective costs. But if you really want to take this to a personal level, I can find you, within a 30-second walk of my desk, a half dozen paper pushers who don't even make what you earn.

    And yes, the CTA unions bear some responsibility for this mess--just look at the senior members who were willing to let a thousand or so of their brothers and sisters go, and harm much of the rest of the city with service cuts, just so they could enjoy their high-on-the-hog perks. And yes, CTA management carries blame, too, as do relatively well-off riders who bitch and moan about any reasonable increase in fares.

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