CTA completes layoffs with bus mechanics, servicers; union warns of breakdowns, dirt

With the Archer Street Garage now officially shut down, the CTA on Sunday completed the last of 1,057 layoffs by giving pink slips to 99 bus mechanics and servicers. That move quickly prompted the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 241to warn riders of dirtier and more broken-down buses ahead.

The Sun-Times reported that a union business agent even warned of the unthinkable: “You’ll start seeing the gum and the dried-up stains.”

A CTA spokesperson essentially poo-pooed the dire warnings, saying: “We’ve reduced the size of the fleet and therefore we need less people to operate buses or maintain them.” She also noted that 11 managers were among the group of those laid-off.

Meanwhile, the bus drivers union, which met Monday night for the first time since the service cuts started Feb. 7, wisely decided not to call for a strike vote at the meeting. A union official said, “There is no need for a strike vote now.”

So, um, when would a strike vote be needed? The Trib reported union officials said “a strike is among the tools at their disposal to kick-start stalled talks on resolving a budget crisis.”

I don’t really understand that one. The union leaders have made it clear they will not give up their raide this year, nor take furlough days. So if they won’t negotiate in good faith, what exactly is there to kick-start?

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  • The contradiction is obvious in your post, but you don't seem to want to face it.

    A strike would be illegal during a contract. Jefferson has said that he is upholding the contract. That's why the union attorney is filing all the grievances and FLSA lawsuits, according to Chicago Breaking News. Going on strike would indicate that the union is repudiating the contract, which it certainly does not want to do.

    You are correct that the remaining 8900 members, having shown no desire to save the other 1100 union jobs, have no reason to kickstart talks now. Wasn't it you that pointed out that the concessions offered were for after the existing contract expires in 2012? That's the first time that the union would have to engage in negotiations, and the first time when it could legally engage in a strike, under sec. 17 of the IPLRA. http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=108&ChapAct=5%26nbsp%3BILCS%26nbsp%3B315%2F&ChapterID=2&ChapterName=GENERAL+PROVISIONS&ActName=Illinois+Public+Labor+Relations+Act. Of course, they have the right to talk strike or any smack up to then. Chicago Transit Authority vs. Illinois Public Labor Relations Board, http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&ved=0CAYQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.state.il.us%2Fcourt%2FOPINIONS%2FAppellateCourt%2F2008%2F1stDistrict%2FNovember%2F1072269.pdf&rct=j&q=Chicago+transit+authority+illinois+public+labor+relations+board+appellate+court&ei=pCWNS_G1NZDmM--3yK8P&usg=AFQjCNFyaaWQ84zlrlrju9oqL-rgl3GrYA However, going past their free speech rights into actually striking would result in discipline, and there are about 1100 other people eager to take their jobs. Don't think that the remaining 8900 don't know that.

    What should seem obvious is that whoever reported it for the Trib. didn't really understand the issue, including Illinois labor law, but when it comes to understanding law, that isn't news for either paper in town.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, I'm not exactly sure what you mean when you write: "you don't seem to want to face it."

    I've reported in the past that a strike would be illegal, including here:

    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/cta-tattler/2010/02/union-vs-cta.html

    But as always, thanks for adding context.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    This post indicates a wishy washyness which seems more consistent with prior posts that if the union would negotiate and make concessions now, everything would be solved. You could have just said, as I did, that the Tribune reporter didn't understand what was said, at least when put into context. However, by using such phrases as "when would a strike vote be needed?" and "I don't really understand that one" lets the bad reporting (or at least the reporting without follow-up by the Trib.) at least somewhat off the hook. As MK previously asked, why don't reporters follow "he said" with investigation into the facts, and apparently you detected another example here.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    If the folks that are responsible for cleaning the buses (who I tend to believe more than the CTA spokesperson) say they are going to get dirtier, wouldn't it make sense to prevent the dirt from entering the equipment in the first place. Hey CTA, start a campaign to enforce the no eating and drinking rules on their buses and trains. Oh wait, it might require some fellow rider enforcement ... riders can scowl at the offenders, post the eating action video on youtube (we'll have our own version of Epic Chicken Eating Woman), pass wind via a cell phone application blaming the eater of course, put trash bins by heavily used bus stops, charge a CTA fare surcharge if they are visibly carrying food or a beverage unless it's part of a grocery order. I could go on but I smell my #80 bus. If nothing is done, it's going to be a long stinky summer.

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