CTA pays out a boatload of overtime to union workers

One CTA rail service supervisor worked an average of 34 hours of overtime on top of her 40-hour work week. And the CTA is the only governmental agency that includes overtime in calculations used to determine pensions.

Those are just two of the shocking findings from a Tribune report published Sunday.

Jackie Hubbard, the hard-working rail service supervisor, earned $150,797 in total compensation in 2010 - with $84,566 coming from overtime pay. "Hubbard, a 26-year CTA employee, stands to receive an annual pension of $87,310 instead of a pension totaling $40,459 resulting solely from her base salary, CTA records show." Good gig, if you can get it.

The Tribune story also notes that the CTA has an odd way of calculating how much it spends on overtime wages:

The agency has put its 2010 overtime costs at $19.8 million.

A Tribune analysis, however, found more than $29 million in overtime.

The Tribune investigation found that although the CTA pays 11/2 times the regular hourly wage to union employees who work more than 40 hours per week, it counts only part of the additional payment — the "half" in time and a half — as overtime for some workers.

So a bus driver or train operator who works eight overtime hours receives 12 additional hours of pay, but only four of those hours are considered overtime — or "premium pay" as the CTA calls it.

To his credit, CTA President Forrest Claypool is working to eliminate overtime from rail service supervisors and other supervisors.

Let's hope some of this excess overtime can be eliminated under the current union negotiations with CTA management.

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  • Here's another bit of news for you--union contracts only stipulate that the workers get time and a half (maybe two and a half if they work a holiday), but I am sure that there is nothing in them that says that CTA has to give supervisors as much overtime as straight time.

    The first question is even whether supervisors are union members--they can't be in the private sector. So, someone giving this supervisor twice the hours is under Claypool's control, as you imply under the box.

    The real cause of overtime, probably here, and definitely in the private sector, is that it is cheaper to pay it than to hire someone else and pay that person benefits. Maybe not so much here since it says CTA says it goes into the pension, but they are still not paying health care for two people.

    Finally, Claypool was reported as saying that the extra board was too big. If that's the case, there are extras available instead of giving operators overtime.

    So, unless your "let's hope" is similar to your "good luck," you have brought up another irrelevancy. Just help Claypool pile up straw men for the inevitable fare hike in July.

  • I don't see anything particularly unfair about that. If you regularly work 70 hours a week, your pension should reflect that.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    You are right, that isn't unfair, especially if the percentage pension contribution is based on the total pay. The Tribune is just trying to tie that into its general campaign for pension reform, but supposedly the CTA pension plan was fixed in 2008, including increasing the contribution percentage.

    The real question is whether management is effective in allowing someone to work 70 hours a week, but we know that CTA doesn't put a value on competent management, or at least the Mayor doesn't.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    That only makes sense in the disconnected world the government operates in, where pay and performance are completely unrelated things. (And why should they be, when someone else is magically footing the bill?)

    Why, exactly, does this woman deserve twice the (already absurdly generous) pension for merely warming a chair an extra 30 hours a week?

  • All this overtime and "work" being done and nobody at the CTA can pick up the garbage or clean the f**kn walls at the Clark / Division stop. Ive lived there 6 years and not once have they cleaned the place beyond emptying the trash can at night. Garbage on the platform, assorted popeyes chicken bones just gets kicked into the tracks. Deplorable. What are these people doing for actual "work" they are getting paid to provide?

  • I don't see the problem with how the overtime total was calculated. The interesting figure *is* the extra half. And Jack's point on comparing the cost of 1 person working overtime with the cost of 2 people is very interesting. Just another way that fat benefits can have the consequence of reducing employment. Because of the costs, the CTA would rather pay 1 person to do 2 jobs rather than provide another family an income stream.

  • The bigger problem is that the most senior drivers are the ones hoarding all the overtime. They pick the highest paying runs with the best hours to ensure that they get extra work every day. Keeps one family from getting an income stream, keeps another of a junior employee from extra needed income.

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