The CTA listed eight examples of what it calls “antiquated” work rules in the press release announcing its proposed budget Wednesday. In reading them, some seem just silly. The unions may have a rough time explaining why any of these should be kept. But I welcome union officials or members to comment or email me and tell me your side. (NOTE: In comments, some CTA employees have responded, so read them.)
The following is copied from the release.
“Antiquated work rules cost the agency tens upon tens of millions of dollars, encouraging absenteeism, unnecessary overtime, and layers of redundant costs required to manage around the cumbersome and inflexible mandates. Among the examples:
- Bus and rail operators who lose their licenses to drunken driving convictions can’t drive, but they remain on the payroll for six months while they try to get their licenses back.
- Employees are paid for birthdays and anniversaries of employment, and earn two and one-half times pay if they choose to work on those days.
- Tasks performed by one tradesperson in the private sector, such as a brake check or AC change out, require three at the CTA.
- Crafts employees must be chauffeured to the start of their shift.
- A rail operator can drive a train from 95th Street on the South Side to the Skokie Yards on the North Side, but must stop a few hundred feet from the maintenance barn to allow a switchman to drive the remaining distance.
- A trackman or carpenter using a chain saw cannot replace a blade without summoning a tradesman from another union.
- A series of complex work rules and mandates guarantee tens of millions of dollars in payments annually for time in which no work is actually performed.
- Collective bargaining agreements effectively prevent dismissal of chronically absent employees, forcing $40 million in annual overtime and “extra board” costs.