Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Tentative agreement made with CTA trade unions

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool say a tentative agreement with multiple CTA trade unions has been made and will provide the agency more flexibility for CTA construction and maintenance work and realize more than $6.5 million in cost savings.

The five-year tentative agreement covers more than 1,200 workers in 12 unions: IBEW Local #134, IBEW Local #9, Plumbers Local #130, Carpenter's Local #1027, Machinists District #8, Painters District Council No. 14, Bricklayers Local #21, Sheetmetal Workers Local #73, Pipefitters' Local #597, Boilermakers Local Lodge #1247, Teamsters Local #700, and Machinists Local #701.

"This is a sound agreement that protects taxpayer investments and increases efficiency in services provided to the public," said Mayor Emanuel. "It is essential that we have world-class infrastructure in Chicago and this agreement allows us to maintain and improve our infrastructure in a responsible, forward-thinking way, while creating jobs and economic opportunity in our neighborhoods."

The new agreement includes provisions that will allow the CTA more flexibility to schedule work crews and lower overtime costs. The new agreement provides for afternoon and evening shifts, which will be paid at straight time instead of overtime and there will be greater flexibility in shift starting times. These are changes that will save around $750,000 annually.

"These changes in work rules will save the CTA money and provide us greater flexibility to meet the demands of upgrading our infrastructure while minimizing the impact on customers," Claypool said. "Equally important, these cost-saving changes will allow us to protect current job levels and guarantee job security for members for the life of the contract."

The tentative agreement also includes several "work-sharing" provisions in which members of different trades can work together on specific work irrespective of jurisdiction, thereby providing more flexibility at work sites. It also calls for replacing two paid holidays (for birthdays and hiring anniversary dates) with one personal day and greater flexibility in the use of vacation time, a savings of more than $565,000 annually.

In addition, changes in health care plans, the first in 10 years, are expected to generate as much as $5 million in savings annually while at the same time maintaining high levels of coverage along with greater health care options for employees.

The local unions' membership and the Chicago Transit Board are expected to ratify the tentative agreement later this year.

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