Here are some amazing take-home facts from the Tuesday's well-reported Tribune story about how absenteeism by CTA drivers and motormen creates the biggest commuting headaches on Mondays, Fridays and the hours leading up to the rush hour period (some of these facts are verbatim copies from the Trib story):
- Absenteeism will cost the CTA $40 million this year to pay fill-in workers.
- Chronically absent employees can face dismissal only after seven occurrences in a calendar year.
- Being absent without leave for multiple days counts as a single occurrence.
- The average front-line worker will be off the job almost four weeks (19 days) due to unscheduled missed work. When was the last time you took 19 sick days in a year and got away with it?
Given the above, here are the really startling facts to me:
- Under the current union agreement, no pay is given for the first two days off sick.
- Workers who call in sick five days in a row are paid for three of the five days (the first two still are not paid).
- Employees earn a maximum of $200 per week for up to 26 weeks under short-term disability.
So that means there's a financial disincentive to take off so much work. And yet, CTA union employees still do it.
And one final Tribune factoid about CTA union absenteeism:
- About one-third of the workforce assigned to the North Park garage has been approved for Family and Medical Leave Act status, according to CTA records. North Park, 3112 W. Foster Ave., has the highest canceled-run rate among CTA garages.
How many of you work at a place where 3 out of every 10 employees have been granted FMLA leave?
I'd love to hear from any drivers or motormen to try to explain this, because I think it's pretty outrageous and highly uncommon in a normal business.
(Chicago Tribune photo)