It ain't over till Mayor Daley sings; his song sure is shrill

Even as the CTA is still negotiating with the unions to try to save some of the service cuts set to go into effect Feb. 7, Mayor Daley says forget about it. It’s over. We can’t stop the CTA cuts.

Way to undercut your CTA president, Mayor Daley.

Pressed whether there is anything he could do to avert the cuts, the
mayor said, “No….I don’t think so. They’ve done everything possible.
They’ve been to Springfield to talk about it. I really believe you have
to start building a huge advocacy group for public transportation. You
have to start realizing that public transportation is the future of a
city like ours.”

Meanwhile the CTA’s biggest union is threatening that it may strike if the cuts go into effect. Nice.


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  • Well, it is sort of like I said a couple of days ago. Daley recognizes that he can't make the unions give givebacks. The Darrell Jefferson threatens strike, even though at least Robert Kelly knows it has to go to arbitration. I see that in the CPR story to which you linked, one of the illiterate union supporters who has posted elsewhere has posted there.

    So, folks, the show is about to begin. It is clear that neither side is any longer trying to compromise.

  • Another comment from a mayor that wouldn't know the #4 from the #3 bus, both of which pass a block away from his house!
    The jerk never rides the CTA, he has his goddammed limo take him everywhere!

  • The CPR story was bizarre; either the story left something out or there's something missing from Jefferson's logic. On one hand, he claims not to be sure what CTA is asking for, but on the other he's refusing to go along with what they're asking, states that "the line has been drawn" and stands prepared to lead a strike over it. So you'll go on strike over something on which you're unclear?

  • In reply to chicagopatrick:

    No, Jefferson is clear. He's got a contract, and he is not giving anything back.* And "Hollywood" and certain other people in the garage have his back. So, I suppose that any perceived variance from the contract is ground enough for him to walk. Although, I previously mentioned that the other local president realizes that if there is a contract breach, it has to go to arbitration, under Sec. 8 of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and the terms of the contract. The contract is not abrogated even though there might be a ground for a grievance.

    Also, after thinking it over last night, there is no basis for the "Way to undercut your CTA president, Mayor Daley" comment in the original post. At least since 1998, the CTA President and Chairperson have been under Daley's direct control, notwithstanding the legal formalities. There never was anyone to undercut. Don't you remember the press conference where leaders of agencies under his control, including Huberman at CPS (which has been legally under his control since 1995) and Rodriguez were present, at which Daley essentially said that he got givebacks from as many unions of city employees as possible, and it was up to the attendees to get them, too? There wasn't, like in 2007, all the press events about "call your legislators to avert Doomsday." Daley about acknowledged, in saying that he can't go back to the taxpayers during the recession, that that would not fly.

    *If you are thinking that this is the normal scenario where the union is striking for a contract, that isn't the case. These contracts are generally the result of arbitration, an ATU practice since the 1920s, although this one resulted when the parties compromised an arbitration proceeding after the 2008 tax hikes were passed.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, when I wrote "way to undercut your president," I was referring to the ongoing assertion that the CTA is still negotiating with the unions. Not anymore!

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Well, at least Jefferson made it clear that he wasn't negotiating with them. So, if anyone was really expecting a negotiated solution....

  • In reply to jack:

    No, I'm with you on that he's not threatening a strike to get a contract... what I'm not seeing in the CPR story is what he says they *are* (potentially) striking for.
    Is it to protest the layoffs, which he evidently believes is a breach of contract? Other than that, I can't see why he'd go on strike or what's happening that would trigger one.
    All that aside, let's say the 241 drivers walk on 2/8. What ends it for Jefferson, short of a court injunction? Re-hiring those that were part of the layoff?

  • In reply to chicagopatrick:

    There were other stories that the contract required that all the part time operators had to be laid off before they touched any full time operators; CTA had given too many 60 day notices, to the wrong people, etc. However, as I previously mentioned, Kelly had taken those claims to arbitration, according to the Sun-Times.

    In Jefferson's case, he has engaged in similar grandstanding before, including in early 2008, when standing next to Huberman, he said he would strike if the "funding bill" didn't pass. Huberman sort of gave a "tut, tut, you can't do that" response, although Jefferson was standing at the CTA rostrum during a press event.

    Chicago Transit Authority v. Illinois Labor Relations Bd. ( ) affirms the union's right to publicize its position, including strike threats. If Jefferson actually goes through, the CTA could seek an injunction if the parties don't go through the seven steps needed to call a strike under the IPLRA, or seek to compel arbitration. I suppose it could also fire strikers, although that would certainly result in a pile of grievances.

    However, if the technicalities of the contract are followed in laying off employees, Jefferson, not having a source of tax revenue, couldn't compel the CTA to take them back. I'm sure, given the kinds of postings on the internet, what would end any strike in Jefferson's mind would only be in Jefferson's head when the time comes.

    One should also note that it does not appear that the contract has been posted on a public site, nor that the public has a list of who received the 60 day notices, so one can't independently assess the validity of the claims.

  • In reply to chicagopatrick:

    Fabulous leadership from our mayor. What an excellent example of absolving onself of any responsibility. Everyone knows who is the final decision maker in all matters having to do with city agencies. Daley should be made to wait around and ride around on the #22 forever. Maybe he'd beg to be released from purgatory for a second chance to make things right.

  • In reply to marthat3:

    I suppose that, with Daley having given up his push for givebacks, what does he do "to make things right"? Since the city itself is financially pressed, and Daley said this is not the time to raise taxes, what alternative do you suggest he take to avoid the service cuts (that would be effective in the week and a half)?

  • In reply to marthat3:

    Personally, I'd love a strike. That'd be the end of the Amalgamated Transit Union as we know it. Not a single striker would have a job after that. Darrell has already proven himself to be completely oblivious to reality and his bid to turn public sentiment against the Union is right on course. Go, Darrell! Shoot yourself in your collective 20,000 feet.

  • In reply to painhertz:

    I actually think them getting rid of all these high-paid union people could be good long term for the CTA. And I think you could get the agency to be non-union if they striked. There are lots of people looking for jobs that wouldn't mind busting the union and being a "scab".

  • In reply to chris:

    And that's exactly whose hands I want to put my life into twice a day. A scab. Someone willing to do a very difficult skilled job for less than a living wage.

  • In reply to marthat3:

    any union member who votes for Daley is a damn fool!

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