News pickup: Successful union negotiations; CTA pensions reforms working

A couple of news stories from the last few days bring some good news on the Chicago Transit Authority beat.

CTA union agree on rehiring rail cleaners. It may not be a deal to give back $80 million in work rule changes, but it’s a step in the right direction. The CTA and its rail union agreed on rehiring 25 rail car cleaners who had been laid off in early 2010 when the CTA reduced service.

Audit gives thumbs up on on CTA retirement pension reforms.  “Reforms implemented three years ago to bolster the retirement plan for CTA employees are working satisfactorily so far, according to the results of a state audit released Tuesday.” So the Tribune reports. If the CTA can do it, the state can do it.

Enjoy the weekend. The Holiday Train is riding the BrOrange Line this weekend. View the schedule.


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  • With the reforms, of course, the question is since the CTA has to pay the pension bonds, that just means that, so long as the RETT is not producing as expected in 2008, that deficit has to be made up somewhere else. Claypool is up you know what creek if he doesn't get the "work rule changes." Or, more correctly, the riders are.

    There are also the law suits still pending about the pension fund, which sort of indicate that the CTA has not kept pace after the bond proceeds infusion.

    In fact, you seem have ignored the following from the article:

    Based on the latest data, the CTA retirement board increased the employee and employer contribution rates for 2012 to keep the plan's funded ratio above 60 percent. Under the plan, the CTA employee contribution rate will increase from 8.345 percent to 8.65 percent of pay, and the employer contribution rate will increase from 10.69 percent to 11.3 percent of pay.

    CTA officials said "huge new costs'' associated with the 2008 pension legislation have contributed to next year's $277 million operating budget shortfall. The total new costs are projected to rise to $248.7 million in 2012, up from $33.8 million in 2007, according to the CTA.

    So, CTA might have gotten a handle on the actuarial problem, but not on the cost problem.

    Given Cullerton's view of the pension clause in the state constitution, your statement that "If the CTA can do it, the state can do it." is at best Pollyannaish, and probably delusional. Heck, it is being disputed whether cutting off the two leeches who substitute taught for one day is constitutional.

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    Rail cleaners? Seriously? The CTA should be hiring conductors to patrol trains, not rail cleaners.

  • In reply to Joseph Finn:

    Willing to pay a $6 fare, Joseph?

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