Union, CTA finally talk -- say nothing new

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
done.

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.”

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  • The only question unanswered is: When will the membership of the union realize that their leaders have gone off the deep end & are willing to sacrifice all of the members to retain their own jobs?
    Because if things don't pick up for the CTA, then more layoffs & cut backs are inevitable.
    How many jobs is Jefferson willing to see lost before a saner group takes over the union.
    A strike by them over anything in the next few years will result in the previously unthinkable in this city, the mayor breaking a union!

  • "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.'"

    If employment and ridership are down, doesn't it make sense to cut service to match the ridership levels? You say that they should rightfully restore all service, but that assumes that any service ever added should never go away. That just doesn't make sense to me.

  • In reply to JWirtz79:

    JW, I think the right thing to do is look at where the cuts have the most impact and restore service -- such as express buses and early morning and late night service.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    When it gets down to Channel 11.1, and people have stopped lying about having made proposals to each other, then you know that the media war is at an end.

    But, do you have the ridership statistics on the "early morning and late night service?" I suppose people in the suburbs would like the weekend buses that were cut back, too, but I'll bet that the evidence is that few were riding them. Should CTA maintain, for instance, the N201 just to, essentially, serve Evanston Hospital, or should NSUHS EH get a van for its employees, like many other institutions were forced to do?

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    "Same as it ever was"

    Reminds me of another Talking Heads lyric: "Say something once/Why say it again?"

    Perhaps James Brown put it more succinctly when he sang about "Talking loud and saying nothing." Seems like Darrell Jefferson's theme song.

  • In reply to marthat3:

    Martha, our minds are one: I definitely had the Talking Heads song in mind when I wrote that....

  • "Jefferson also reminded us that the union has "undertaken increases in pension payments" ".

    Does Darrell realize that the non-Union employees (management and other staff) also have suffered those same increases in pension payments? It didn't only hit the unions. And the purpose of the increases was to help save the pensions. Seems like a worthwhile investment to me.

  • Kevin -
    Last week the TV reports indicated that CTA sent a 10 page letter to the ATU Unions responding to offers the unions have made. Did you get a copy of that letter they gave the media? That sure would be interesting to read. According to channel 9 reports, the CTA said the Unions' suggestions would cost the CTA $70 mill, not save it $90 mill.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    D.299: I refer you to this post two weeks ago where I compared the union's and CTA's proposals:

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/cta-tattler/2010/02/budget-cuts-faceoff-comparing-cta-union-plans-to-lower-costs-restore-service-cuts.html

  • I'm assuming you are living comfortably by yourself on 18 thou a year. That you're not trying to raise a family on that. 'Cause you know what? CTA workers don't take vows of poverty or chastity. They're allowed to reproduce.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    I always assumed that the price of labor depended on the demand for and productivity of labor, not on what the workers say they need.

    I suppose that your viewpoint justifies lower wages for women, because they should have husbands to support them, and castrating all the 1100 CTA union workers who were laid off.

  • In reply to jack:

    Oh please. You know very well what I mean.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Yes I do, which is the problem.

    Someone started a debate here about two months ago whether CTA drivers were overpaid. I said that there will be an empirical way of testing that, and that is occurring now. Whether they are married or single, have children in or out of wedlock, or are supporting their parents isn't relevant. The point is that one group with seniority cast another group on the street, to preserve its own standard of living. What hasn't been reported is whether the group of 1100 has found jobs. If they were formerly underpaid, they would have.

  • Again....there is no CTA bus driver making $72,000 a year. Where in God's name are you getting these figures from? I'd love to know what I was doing wrong? Did I feel underpaid? No, but I'd LOVE to know who's making that figure doing the same thing I was.

    Please....show me.

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