What a strange 10 days it's been for CTA, unions and riders

It’s been another strange week for CTA news, highlighted by increasingly strained relations between the CTA and its two operator unions, Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 241 (bus operators) and 308 (rail operators).

Let’s do a recap and rewind by 10 days to the Friday before the cuts went into effect on Sunday, Feb. 7.

Friday, Feb. 5:
Daley’s last-ditch effort to avoid service cuts fails. And the president of the rail workers union said he hoped the cuts would be reversed “in seven to 10 days.” Ha!

Saturday, Feb. 6: It’s the last day of work for more than a thousand operators, who will be laid off on Feb. 7. A union official predicts it’s going to be “horrific” for CTA customers. Well, duh!

Sunday, Feb. 7: Cuts day. No, I won’t go as far as calling it Doomsday. It’s Sunday, so the real pain won’t be felt till the first work day on Monday. But people still wait longer.

crowded bus.jpg

(Chicago Tribune photo by Alex Garcia)

Monday, Feb. 8: First day of service cuts. People do get to work and run their errands, albeit a little more slowly. Unions are digging in their heels: “I can tell you we don’t give up nothing without getting something. That’s negotiating.” — Robert Kelly, president of the CTA’s rail union. The Tattler suggests prospects are dim for reversal of cuts.

Tuesday, Feb. 9: Reports on the effects of the cuts vary from no change to terrible and “it sucks.” Of course, the first big snow of the year didn’t help matters.

Wednesday, Feb. 10: We see reports on comparing what the CTA wants from the unions and what the unions might be willing to give. Big difference between the two. Especially since the unions want to give back savings from future wage increases that haven’t even been negotiated yet. Now I truly wonder what the union leaders are smoking.  

Thursday, Feb. 11: In a brief respite from service-cut news, we report that the CTA board Wednesday OK’ed a bond issue for $505 million to buy 406 new rail cars.

Friday, Feb. 12: We got some hopeful news
that a House committee had voted to repeal free rides for all senior
citizens and institute means testing instead.  We needed that.

Saturday, Feb. 13: But Friday’s small ray of possible CTA sunshine was blotted out by union threats
to drive more slowly and follow rules to the letter if the CTA doesn’t
“negotiate fairly.” You have got to be kidding me. Wendy said it best
in a comment:
“Telling the public you’re going to increase their suffering as a
bargaining position is a bad move and will gain you nothing in public
support. With all the anti-union sentiment right now, not a good move.”

Sunday, Feb. 14: The next meeting — and first since the cuts — between the CTA and unions is scheduled for Wednesday. And WBBM News Radio 780 reports
that bus operators union president Darrell Jefferson says he will
continue to reject a proposal that would reduce salaries. So, why even
waste the time?

Yes, what a long, strange trip it’s been. And will continue to be on CTA trains and buses, at least for awhile at this rate.


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  • For all you haters out here !! Have you ever drove a Bus.. do you know how many Bus Operators are faced w/ danger on a daley basis? (not). that is what i thought, they are shot at, knifed punched out, left for dead, brain dead!! sometimes the AVL system is not working and since the cell phone policy came out well what"s an operator to do ? And you say cut the paY!!! oh give me a break .Try driving a Bus a couple of days ... there is not much to do about the un -ruley passengers they are always going to be around or the angry spouse that is up -set and takes it out on the Bus Driver!!! The CTA is giving out so much overtime and are loving it , it is better to bring back the layed- off Employees and they will save.... It is a win win situation.. now for the no job action none is taken, all the operators will do is standard operating procedure, now they are still running ahead of schedule do you all have a RULE BOOK!! it will be slow if all Operators follow the guideline"s these operators mechanics/ have done over 5 years for what to get layed- off... and the company is gong crazy with overtime!!! Cut the fat from the top the non- unionized Employee's make so much more and you really do not need them they keep pushing there work down the line!! some do not even know how to use the Computer, LOOK at the real deal!! the citizens of Chicago who ride the Transit system Daley!!! And true to the fact they cut most of the routes in the rueal areas anything south of GRAND AVE!!!! CUT CUT CUT. Now how are you getting to work.. it is a shame and i believe what D Jefferson and the REV Jessie Jackson said.And the children are the future leaders!!! there parents need to go to work and there children need to go to school !! SLOW DOWN OR ROLL DOWN, actually the operator will be following sops and the Customer will not like it at ALL!!! the real citizen of Chicago stand up and fight for the right!!BRING BACK THE LAYED OFF EMPLOYEE"S!!!I am speaking of the Chicago Bus operators!! the Customers who get on our BUS Everyday!!!CTA FIRED SANCHEZ/ CONLEY.. and also a FEW more... but not nearly enough...GET RID OF RODRIGUEZ..... THE NEW PRESIDENT OF CTA SHOULD BE AND I WILL SAY AGAIN!!! JEANETTE MARTIN. SHE STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM WORKED HER WAY TO THE TOP SHE AT LEAST KNOWS HOW TO DRIVE A BUS IN AN EMERGENCY, YOU GOT GENERAL MANAGER"S who r political inclined,DO NOT HAVE A LICENSE OR A CDL!! DO NOT EVEN KNOW (how to drive).WHAT THEY ARE DOING!!!LOOK AT THAT CTA I CAN NAME TONS. NEW POLICY . GIVE ME A BREAK, IF YOU HAVE NO-ONE TO DRIVE A BUS, AND THE BUS IS BROKE DOWN ON THE STREET OR THE PIT/IN THE MAINTENANCE AREA HOW CAN A MANAGER MOVE IT?? WITH NO CDL, OR LICENSE, WHERE IS THE LOGIC THERE , IT IS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, IT IS WHO YOU KNOW,A FEW OF THE GENERAL MANAGERS IN THE BUS BARNS ARE POLITICAL.. DO YR HOMEWORK CTA... THEY PUSH THERE WORK ONTO OTHERS.. WE DO NOT NEED RE-SEARCHERS TO TELL US WE R BROKE !! HOW MUCH IS THAT COSTING THE CHICAGO TRANSIT???RODRIGUEZ OHH PLEASE WE NEED A VOICE , GET RID OF HIM MR. MAYOR AND PROMOTE FROM WITHIN, AT LEAST THOSE EMPLOYEE"S KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON THE DID START FROM THE BOTTOM AND GOT A PAY-CUT AND THEY HE /OR SHE LOVE THERE JOB!!!! You really must do you"r research... As long as Mayor Daley keeps bringing in his city BOY"s the Chicago Transit, has no chance!! he got rid of Volupte, from messing up the meters and sent him to the CTA making $168.000 a year(or a little less). what does he know about Chicago Transit??? Nothing, i say Please get rid of RODRIGUEZ and Promote Jeanette Martin as are new Chicago Transit, President!

  • In reply to Hollywood:


  • In reply to Hollywood:

    Hollywood, you are EXACTLY right, there is not enough money in the Universe to get me to even think of driving a CTA bus and dealing all the INSANE MANIAC riders (I ride the bus, and I see what you have to put up with - you should be making 10 times more).

    So you say the drivers knew what they were getting into when they applied for the job; OK, well how much would YOU want to be paid for EATING huge amounts of SH*T from riders on a daily basis.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    So you believe that drivers should make $500K to $800K/year? Well, I can't a lot of people will agree with you.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Sorry Hollywood. Hearing you talk about how bad driving a bus is I thought for a moment you were driving in Iraq! Honestly, if its that bad, why aren't more drivers quitting on their own to get away from the madness?

    Hollywood... if you want to be taken seriously, you're going to have to work on the spelling and work on legitimate points.

  • In reply to Hollywood:

    First of all, I admire most of the CTA bus and rail operators for many reasons, and I would hate to see any of them improperly compensated for what they do.

    But, what really strikes me odd is the threats made by the unions, i.e. the threat to actually follow the rules. That, friends, is a very bogus threat to make indeed ~ shouldn't they be "following the rules" for the sake of safety and for all the good reasons the rules were made for in the first place? I can speak for a lot of disabled folks that when they actually wait for us to sit down before jumping back into traffic it will be a good day, indeed.

  • In reply to Hollywood:

    Bus drivers make more, on average, than a Sergeant Major in the US Army with 14 years of experience.

  • So I see that hollywood, who claimed on the Sun-Times to be a pharmacist tech, is spamming here. I can reiterate that there is one qualification a CTA driver apparently doesn't need, if we believe he is actually a CTA driver. However, he apparently isn't the mechanic I accused him of being in the Sun-Times.

    As far as it being a strange week, if the posts in the prior thread are any indication, this can't be solved, because it appears that there is a legion of individuals that just want to spread misinformation. http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/cta-tattler/2010/02/union-threatens-to-follow-the-rules-slow-down-bus-routes-if-cta-wont-negotiate-fairly.html If people wanted to be honest about the situation it would be one thing, but they don't. You too, hollywood.

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