Protest rally set for Wednesday's CTA board meeting on "criminal and racist" budget

The CTA’s transit workers unions are planning a rally at the CTA’s West Loop headquarters from 10 am till noon during the agency’ Wednesday board meeting.

CTA rally photo.jpg

The notice of the rally states: “On
Nov. 12, the CTA Board passed a criminal and racist budget for next
year that includes massive layoffs and services cuts. 2,000 workers
have been given pink slips. Bus service will be reduced by 18% and
train service by 9%. The service cuts will: Double CTA wait times; Cut
vital service in low income areas; Reduce service hours; and close
Archer Garage.”

Wow. “Criminal and racist.” I mean, geez, I’m as upset as anyone that service is being cut and people are losing jobs. But criminal and racist? Here’s how John Beacham, coordinator of, explains that:

“The budget is criminal for cutting services and jobs during an economic
crisis in the wealthiest country in the history of the world while the
bankers swim in taxpayer funded bonuses. It is racist for cutting
services disproportionately on the South and West sides, where people
need CTA service the most.”

As far as what they hope to accomplish with the rally, Beacham said:

“The budget can be overturned and the people have the right to demand
that a new budget is passed. The CTA signed a contract with unions 2
years ago. The contract is not up. But the CTA is demanding that
workers accept changes that will be harmful to workers and riders. If
the workers who make CTA run everyday are being told to make changes,
riders and workers have the right to say no and struggle to reverse the

“This struggle is a simple matter of justice for working
people. CTA is a necessary and helpful service for millions. The
transit workers need their jobs. Riders need their service. The
economic crisis was not caused by transit workers or riders. And
there’s no reason they, or any other workers, should suffer while the
bailed out bankers receive record bonuses. The money exists to fund
transit and save jobs.”

Regarding where the money would come from, Beacham said:

“Our answer to the question of funding is fundamental and should be
accurately represented if there is to be any objective discussion about
transit funding. The funding exists; The CTA Board, the state and the
city are simply using the crisis to weaken the unions and cut service.
This is the wealthiest country in the world–a country that bails out
the big banks with billions and trillions of dollars every ten years
and is spending trillions on endless wars. Corporate handouts are a
daily occurence in Chicago.”


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  • What a truly stupid way to antagonize the board.
    As much as I hate the bankers, the CTA has no control over them.
    Regarding the bus cuts, it's the express routes that are getting cut & the reason so many are on the south side is that there are more wider streets there. Everyone on the north side would love an X22 on Clark St., but you can't have an express bus on a street that is two traffic lanes for all but 2 miles!

  • Expected rhetoric. Nothing new here, folks.

  • "Where people need service the most" - People need service the most on the routes with the highest ridership. It has nothing to do with demographics. Just because someone lives on the north doesn't mean they own a car, or want to. Transportation options are just as vital for everyone everywhere.

  • Yes, the CTA is racist... And you also stereotyped the entire west and south sides... Racist against who exactly? Why don't they come out and say it?

    I have my beefs with the budget, service cuts, etc, but this sort of behavior hurts everyone who is against this budget.

  • So they're interested in getting TARP money to cover the RTA's operating shortfalls? In what universe does that actually seem like a feasible solution?

  • In reply to k1052:

    What about TIF funds that Daley has been hiding away for yeatrs ?

  • In reply to leobaz:

    Daley claimed, in a radio report, that they can only be used for infrastructure. However, if you are a citizen of Chicago, maybe you should ask why about 1/6th of the valuation of the city is in TIF zones, and why doesn't Daley use more of that money to deal with the chronic capital needs of the CTA. One would think that, for instance, a United Center station would help development in that area.

  • In reply to leobaz:

    So they really appreciate the "necessary and helpful service" that the "criminals and racists" at CTA provide?

  • In reply to leobaz:

    If I were looking to make political waves, this is not the way I'd do it. I think there's strong justification for using TARP money for transit bailouts in the current crisis, as you have something that is as essential as a utility that's getting hammered due to the peculiarities of how transit is funded. That's true in any US jurisdiction where transit depends either on sales taxes (highly vulnerable to retail sales tanking in a crisis) or on discretionary grants (highly vulnerable to the whims of politicians in a crisis), which covers the vast majority of US transit operators. But histrionics about racism, confined to the small pond that is Chicago politics -- that's not going to get anyone anywhere.

  • In reply to leobaz:

    Daley is where most of the CTA problems occur trust me when I say this with the up most respect! appointing his people in key position through out the CTA! people that by the way have no clue about transit or how it should be ran! but make major decisions on every scale.Please let us not forget our wonder Major allowing his Nephew to take millions of dollars out of their pension that has never been paid back but now is going broke! What blows me is all you ever see in the media is bashing of the front line employees as if all of the CTA problems are their fault, like they make the Einstein decisions that makes us warm and fuzzy all over! They are only the messagers but in my opinion get treated awful all the way around! They leak pay scales to the public never telling the truth that for every so call raise they have not only taken back but taken a little more just to give the workers that you are so valued feeling! Everything is going up but their take home pay! Mean while you have manger positions being made up by the day at a whooping 90,000 to 200,000 pay scale plus benefits! Management that are already falling over each other, but wait this is the part thats gonna wet your whistle !!!! Mangers that cant and dont make decisions (they all call one manger to make a call)?? The Cta is crying broke but now wishes to balance their budget on the backs of their employees? for example taking away the employees free riding ?? wait lol when over half the city rides for free?? I know right! but wait they wanna cut their medical give them forced days off! oh the cream of the crop making them take a pay reduction on top of all that!!?? Now tell the Cta employees to give good service with a smile in the cold while the mangers hide in warm offices with proper lunch breaks and no irate passengers in front of them! It makes me wanna give great service with a smile how about you :)

  • In reply to k1052:

    They're pulling the race card now? I better grab some popcorn!

  • In reply to k1052:

    While I made clear my opinion about the rhetoric, and bailing out the banks has no relationship to CTA's chronic deficit, the idea of a federal bailout isn't that farfetched.

    It is reported that the President wants to put some of the TARP money that wasn't put into banks into infrastructure. Also, the stimulus bill supposedly had money to forestall layoffs by state government.

    I am starting to doubt that infrastructure spending does much for other than the asphalt and allied industries. I suppose that Congress could authorize a stimulus plan to avert layoffs at the CTA, although that would just forestall the need to face the issues there, just as the $166 million in miracle money did, and enabled people like these to think that there is more coming.

  • What bailed out bankers are receiving record bonuses anyway? I don't see how their frustration with the TARP bill has much to do with the CTA and its budget.

    Money does not exist when the federal and state governments are operating in deficits. This sounds like an Ayn Rand novel.

  • It's much easier to decide to live without a car if you live on the North Side.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    You could argue that is due to the population density of the areas other than the North side.

  • This is a backwards, and frankly, illogical, emotional appeal.

    I too am frustrated at the prospect of cuts, but they're neither criminal nor racist. And invoking the greed of bankers doesn't further any practical solutions.

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