For the first time since the CTA cut service on Feb. 7, the bus union chief and CTA president sat down together — on live TV even — and essentially made no news.
Same as it ever was:
The union won’t agree to any contract concessions, but the CTA intends to keep asking.
For his part, CTA President Richard Rodriguez was very respectful and somewhat conciliatory to Darrell Jefferson, ATU Local 241 president. On WTTW’s Chicago Tonight show Tuesday, Rodriguez said he respects the position of the union — that it doesn’t want to reopen the contract for further negotiation. But he asked them to do so anyway.
Meanwhile, Jefferson backed off a bit from yesterday’s strike talk, saying, “It’s not something we’re advocating.” Of course, Rodriguez then reminded him that any strike would be illegal. And it “would only serve to harm riders and interfere with the public’s right to transit,” the CTA said in a separate statement.
Rodriguez indicated he would be happy with even small concessions.
if the union gave up just one vacation day, the CTA would save $3
million, he said. And he reminded the union that “we haven’t asked [the
union to do a] single thing that we [non-union workers] haven’t already
But Jefferson wouldn’t budge. When asked why he won’t negotiate with the CTA, Jefferson said, “The
union can’t sit down and talk because it would indicate a negotiation,
which my members don’t want to do.”
Jefferson also reminded us
that the union has “undertaken increases in pension payments. Our
history of givebacks has been very significant. The unions gave
significantly [in 2007]. We just don’t feel there’s anything else to
give and keep a decent standard of living.”
Finally, when told that a report suggested that riders during rush hour weren’t really noticing the cuts, Rodriguez (rightfully) insisted that the CTA should still work to restore all service. But he did suggest that “maybe we should put service back in areas here we didn’t have service.”